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Vol. 22 - 1999 

Proposed Masonic Temple, 16 Spadina Road, Toronto, Ontario - 1914 

JitfltthitW>: September Z\ t 1077 
(Donsttiitfefc: »ep\embet 23, 1070 

R.W.Bro. P. RAYMOND BORLAND, Worshipful Master 
Kitchener, Ontario 

V.W.Bro. SAMUEL FORSYTHE, Secretary 

752 Hampton Court, Pickering, Ontario L1W 3M3 

(905) 831-2076 Fax (905) 831-7815 

20 Fairview Crescent, Woodstock, Ont. N4S 6L1 

Phone (519) 537-2927 


Subject Page 


R. W.Bro. P. Raymond Borland, W.M 67 

Annual Heritage Lodge Banquet Address 

Freemasonry Within The Royal Canadian Mounted Police 

£y R.W.Bro. Donald H. Mumby 69 

The First On Sight Mason In Canada 

By R.W.Bro. Balfour Le Gresley 81 

Review by W.Bro. John F. Sutherland 95 

A History of Lodges in South Huron District 

By R. W.Bro. Gregory H. Hazlitt 97 

A Tale of Two Temples 

By W.Bro. Paul R. A. E. Skazin 123 

Review 1 by R. W.Bro. Wallace E. McLeod 144 

Review 2 by R. W.Bro. Donald G. Hines 146 

The Grand Registrar's Message 

By R. W.Bro. David A. Fickling 149 

Our Departed Brethren 153-154 

The Heritage Lodge Officers 155 

Committee Chairmen 156 

The Heritage Lodge Past Masters 157 

The contributors to these Proceedings are alone 
responsible for the opinions expressed and also 
for the accuracy of the statements made therein, 
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 

The oral presentation at meetings 
shall be restricted to 30 minutes 

Papers presented to the Lodge are printed in full in 
The Heritage Lodge Proceedings in November each year 



The 1998-1999 Masonic year for The Heritage Lodge No. 730 has 
been a busy and interesting year. We have had four excellent papers; we 
are preparing for our 25th Anniversary, and assured the Lodge's financial 
stability for the next few years. 

After extensive labours by RW.Bro. Jacob Pos, The Heritage Lodge 
has its own Coat of Arms, certified by the Heralds in Ottawa. The Lodge 
is truly grateful to the work of RW.Bro Pos on this project, as well as the 
many others he has undertaken since our inception. 

Our Annual Banquet was well attended by many brethren who came 
to hear R W. Bro. Donald H. Mumby's skilfully researched paper entitled 
Freemasonry Within The R.C.M.P. gave us a real sense of Masonry's 
impact to the RCMP, in particular, and to Canadian history in general. 
The great interest of the brethren present was expressed by the very quiet 
attention they gave to the presentation until RW.Bro. Mumby was 
finished. The evening was throughly enjoyed by all present. 

The West Toronto Temple was die site of our March meeting . It was 
hosted by University Lodge No. 496, and one of its members, R W. Bro. 
Balfour LeGresley, presented a well researched paper entitled The First 
On Sight Mason in Canada which not only enlightened us about this 
masonic event, but also gave us a sense of the visibility which masons 
and Masonry had to the general public during this portion of this century. 

Our May meeting was hosted by the brethren of Morning Star Lodge 
No. 309, and RW.Bro. Gregory H. Hazlitt presented a History of Lodges 
in South Huron District which was accompanied in a spirited and 
humourous manner by sketches portrayed by several brethren of the 

W.Bro. Paul Skazin presented a papers Tale of Two Temples which 
outlined the reasons for the building of the Masonic Temple at 888 
Yonge Street, Toronto, instead of a building on Spadina Road. This 
history was of particular interest to those who may have attended a Lodge 
in the 888 Yonge Street building, especially after the building was lost 
to Masonry, as a result of poor financial planning. 

On a personal note, I am very thankful to the Brethren for electing 
me as Worshipful Master of this fine Research Lodge. To V. W.Bro. 
George Napper, Installing Master, and his fine team on the Installing 
Board, thank you for a memorable Installation. A Lodge cannot work 
well without a knowledgeable Secretary who knows what to do, and with 
skill and ability can advise a Worshipful Master. For The Heritage 
Lodge, V. W.Bro. Samuel Forsythe is that qualified Mason. Thanks Sam, 
for all your assistance. 



To the other capable Officers and involved Members of The Heritage 
Lodge No. 730, it is you who make this Lodge work well, you should be 
proud to be members of this Lodge. The Annual Proceedings which our 
Lodge publishes is our most public expression of the fine work our 
Research Lodge has done, is doing, and will continue to do. We should 
all be proud to be members. 

Yours in Masonry, 

R.W. Bro. Philip Raymond Borland, W.M. 


Initiated Twin City Lodge No. 509 1985 

Worshipful Master, Twin City Lodge No. 509 1991 

Member, Niagara Lodge No. 2 

Grand Registrar 1994 

Worshipful Master, New Dominion Lodge No. 205 1997 

Secretary, New Dominion Lodge No. 205 1994 - 2000 

Member, Dufferin Lodge No. 570 

Member, Royal City Lodge of Perfection 

Member, Guelph Chapter Rose Croix 

Past First Principal, Kitchener Chapter No. 117 

Past TIM, Conestoga Council No. 17 Royal & Select Masters 

Member, Vallette Preceptory No. 64 

Member, Burlington Council No. 70, Allied Masonic Degrees 

Member, Sir William York Rite College No. 57 





The Heritage Lodge 14 th Annual Banquet 

Scarborough Masonic Temple 

January 29 th , 1999 

In this large body of men whose members were 
gathered from the Motherland, our own young 
country, and, indeed, from many other civilized 
countries of the world, a goodly number of 
Masons were bound to be found ! 

This statement, referring to the men who made up the first draft of 
recruits for the North West Mounted Police, reveals that Freemasonry 
and what is now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been 
inextricably linked since the Force's inception in 1873. This linkage, 
while certainly not one of design, has over the years, changed in manner, 
influence and degree of overall acceptability. Within the confine of this 
paper, I would like to examine the impact that Masons have had upon the 
overall development of the Force. Thus, considerable emphasis will be 
placed upon the formative years of Force history and some of those 
members upon whom legends were built. In addition, reference will be 
made to the contributions of others, particularly those who shaped and 
molded the present day RC.M.P. In my opinion their Masonic affiliation 
was not just coincidental to their strength of character, dedication to duty 
and the exemplary discharge of their duties, but was an essential 
component of their approach to life. 

Three years after Confederation, Canada purchased the vast North 
West Territories from the Hudson Bay Company. At this point in time, 
reports, which were undoubtedly exaggerated, concerning the general 



state of lawlessness that pervaded the American west were communicated 
to Sir John A. Macdonald. He at the same time, was in receipt of first 
hand accounts of American military attempts to suppress the aboriginal 

Still bothered by the specter of the American Civil War, which was 
the stimulus for the inclusion of the Peace, Order and Good Government 
clause in the Confederation agreement, and not wanting to have an 
American-style frontier mentality in the great North West, Macdonald 
came tp the conclusion that an organized force was needed to maintain 
law and order. 

This conclusion was bolstered with the outbreak of rebellion in the 
Red River and reports of widespread lawlessness in the uncontrolled 
territory. Tilings finally came to a head with news of a terrible massacre 
of Assiniboine Indians in the Cyprus Hills, an area which borders the 
present day provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. 

Prodded into action by the urgings of Canada's Governor General, 
Lord Dufferin, and Lieutenant Governor Morns, the man responsible for 
Manitoba and the North West Territories, Macdonald, on September 24, 
1873 announced the formation of a mounted regiment, named in the first 
instance, the North West Mounted Rifles. On the day of signing the 
proclamation, Sir John A. Macdonald with a stroke of the pen crossed out 
the word Rifles and inserted the word Police Thus was born, the North 
West Mounted Police. Of particular significance for this dissertation, is 
the fact that Sir John A. Macdonald, the original architect of the Force, 
was a Mason, a member of Ancient St. John's Lodge No. 3 in Kingston 
and, in later years, Dalhousie Lodge No. 52 in Ottawa. 

Under the direction of the newly appointed head of the Force, 
Lieutenant-Colonel George A. French, an officer of the Royal Artillery, 
and reportedly, a member of a British Military Lodge 1 , newly 
commissioned officers, many of whom were men with previous military 
experience, or men with close family ties to the Macdonald government, 
immediately signed up about one-half of the 300 required recruits. These 
recruits were ordered to proceed forthwith to Lower Fort Garry which 
was to become the staging point for the trek west. 

The first contingent of recruits were brought together in Ottawa, 
formed into "A" Detachment, and under the command of Major James A. 
Walsh, left by train on October 1, 1873. While Toronto was their 
destination, the first stop was made in Prescott, Ontario where three of 
these recruits were removed, not only from the train, but, from the rolls 
of the Force for being drunk and disorderly. In Prescott, six new recruits 



were signed on, one of whom, Samuel B. Steele, a former Sergeant with 
A Battery of the Dominion Artillery Regiment, would later become world 
famous for his exploits during the time of the Yukon Gold Rush and later 
during the South African campaign. Steele enlisted as a private, but was 
immediately promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major 3 with overall 
responsibility for the discipline of the new recruits. This task became his 
central focus as additional recruiting was completed in Toronto and 
Collingwood. It was from this latter point that the first 150 members 
embarked via steamer for Port Arthur from whence an overland trail, 
interspersed with river and lake travel, eventually led to their ultimate 
destination, Lower Fort Garry in Manitoba. It was in Lower Fort Garry 
that Lieutenant-Colonel Osborne Smith, on November 3, 1873, ad- 
ministered the enlistment oath and issued each recruit with a warrant 
containing his name, number, and rank. Thus, it was that on this day and 
in this place, the North West Mounted Police truly came into being. 

A second contingent of over 150 men were assembled and trained in 
Toronto in early 1874, This group traveled by rail through the United 
States in June 1874 and met with the first contingent at Fort Dufferin, 
Manitoba which is just north of the American border. 

While wintering in Lower Fort Garry, Sgt. Major Sam Steele was 
initiated into Lisgar Lodge No. 244. 4 There is some suggestion that 
Steele's decision to join Freemasonry was influenced to some degree by 
his superior, Major Leif Crozier. 5 In any event, his memoirs suggest that 
he attended lodge regularly and faithfully during the winter months. 

On July 8, 1874, six troops - a total of 275 members of the N.W.M.P. 
left Fort Dufferin on the Great March West. Much has been recorded of 
the difficulties encountered in moving 300 men, more than 300 horses 
and 100 tons of supplies and equipment over the trails originally 
established by the Boundary Commission in the inarch towards the Rocky 
Mountains. The members manhandled wagons out of bogs and put up 
with dust, mosquitoes, flying ants, grasshoppers and alkaline water. 
Many members came down with dysentery and typhoid fever. Food ran 
low and on very cold prairie nights, men gave up their blankets so that 
the horses could be kept warm. On more than one occasion, Colonel 
French denied permission to break up and use the wood from surplus 
wagons for fuel because they were Government property. 6 For men 
unaccustomed to the blazing sun, constant hot winds, endless miles of 
nothing but Buffalo grass and sagebrush and shortage of potable water, 
the trek was long and arduous. Indeed, John G. Kitson, M.D., one of the 
early Force doctors related how mosquitoes, coaldust from burnt prairie 
grass which stung the eyes and irritated exposed skin, alkali water, 



sweltering hot days and cold nights, excoriated feet caused by walking in 
unfit shoes, lice, debilitating diarrhea and two cases of typhoid fever, 
contrived to slow down the expedition. 7 

Seventy days after leaving Fort Dufferin the six troops were low on 
supplies and medicines and their horses and other animals were worn 
thin. To add to the discomfort was the fact that they were unable to find 
reliable guides and no one within the party was really sure where they 
were. Their main objective had been to reach Fort Whoop-up and do 
battle with the whiskey traders: the only problem was that nobody knew 
where to find the Fort. 

On August 1, 1874 at Roche-Percee, not far from the present day 
City of Estevan, Saskatchewan Colonel French divided his Force, 
sending one of the Divisions north to the trading post at Fort Edmonton 
where provisions could be found and directing the other five divisions 
towards the Sweet Grass Hills winch lay near the Montana border. The 
troops made a temporary camp while Colonel French and Lt. Col. 
MacLeod went on to Fort Benton in Montana for supplies and assistance. 
This was later proven to be a most fortuitous decision, for it was at Fort 
Benton that they were introduced to the legendary Gerry Potts who was 
to serve as guide and interpreter with the Force for the next 22 years. 

Potts subsequently guided the main body of men to Fort Whoop-Up 
only to find the post all but deserted. As news of their impending arrival 
had spread by moccasin telegraph, the American Whiskey Traders, 
fearing confrontation and confiscation of their wares, fled to Montana. 

Lt. Col. MacLeod decided that Fort Whoop-Up, exposed as it was to 
all elements, would not be a suitable post in which to pass the winter. 
Potts suggested another locale, approximately two days' inarch west of 
Fort Whoop-Up and the trek continued. In late August of 1874 a 
permanent site, named Fort MacLeod, was established on an island in the 
Oldman River bottom in what is now southwestern Alberta. The North 
West Mounted Police had arrived in the great Northwest and the job of 
policing was about to begin. 

In May of 1875, Superintendent James Walsh left Fort MacLeod and 
with a small troop proceeded to the area of the Cypress Hills. This region 
straddles the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is about 50 
miles north of the present international boundary. It was here that Fort 
Walsh, which for many years was the home of the R.C.M.P. horse 
breeding program, was established. In 1878, the headquarters of the 
N.W.M.P. was transferred from its temporary base in Fort MacLeod, to 
Fort Walsh. 



The first Masonic banquet in the North-West was held at Fort Walsh 
in 1880. Major Crozier was chairman and Sam Steele was vice- 
chairman. According to Steele, . . . There were no Masonic lodges in the 
territory at that time, and it was felt that something should be down to 
show that there were Masons, if there were no lodges. The banquet was 
quite a large affair and proved to be a great success, all taking part 
enthusiastically without regard to creed, nationality or language? 

On May 13, 1883, the Headquarters of the Force was transferred to 
Regina, however, most police activity continued to be found in the 
surrounding areas. 

In the fall of 1892, two members of the N.W.M.P. who were 
stationed in Maple Creek met with three other Masons to look into the 
possibility of forming a lodge in the area. The requisite, perfect seven, 
was obtained by borrowing two members of the N.W.M.P. who were 
members of Medicine Hat Lodge No. 31, G.R.M.. Medicine Hat Lodge 
agreed to act as the sponsoring lodge and in the Spring of 1893 a Charter 
was requested. Dispensation was granted on July 10, 1893 and on July 
22, 1893, Maple Leaf Lodge No. 56 was constituted in Maple Creek. 
With the formation of the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, Maple Creek 
Lodge was assigned the No. 9 and the sponsoring lodge, Medicine Hat, 
became No. 3 on the Grand Registry of Alberta. 

Meanwhile by early 1894, some 14 Masons were housed in the 
N.W.M.P. Barracks at N.W.M.P. Headquarters in Regina. 9 Most of these 
men were members and regularly attended meetings of Wascana Lodge 
No. 23 which had been formed under dispensation from the Grand Lodge 
of Manitoba on February 24, 1883. 10 

On July 5, 1894 some of these 14 members met in the Veterinary 
Surgeon's room at the Regina Barracks in order to set in motion the 
formation of a lodge for members of the N.W.M.P.. The general feeling 
was that since A Mounted Policeman's duties are various and his 
continued place of residence (with a few exceptions) uncertain, . . . a 
lodge at Headquarters, Regina, would relieve a Brother from the 
necessity of continually changing his allegiance from one lodge to 
another, and so be the means of concentrating his energies in a more 
systematic manner towards the good of the Craft in general. ' ' The matter 
was thoroughly discussed and agreement was reached that a Lodge 
should be formed. Commissioner Herchmer, was consulted on the subject 
and immediately granted permission to use a large room in the barracks 
as a Lodge Room. A final meeting took place on August 24, 1894 at 
which time 14 members affixed their signatures to the petition for the 
formation of a Lodge to be named North West Mounted Police Lodge. 



On October 1, 1894, the new lodge, named North West Mounted 
Police Lodge and numbered 61 on the registry of the Grand Lodge of 
Manitoba was instituted (under dispensation) with the first officers 
installed by M.W.Bro. Goggin, P.G.M. of the Grand Lodge of 
Manitoba. 12 On September 5, 1895 the lodge was formally constituted 
and the charter granted. Membership continued to grow steadily until the 
late 1890s when two events, the Yukon Gold Rush of 1897 and the South 
African Boer War of 1899, drew most of the N.W.M.P. members from 
Regina. Indeed, by 1900, the D.D.G.M. of the District reported that . . . 
all of the Officers and members are away but two, either having been 
drafted for the Yukon Territory or having volunteered for active service 
in South Africa to fight the battles of our Queen. It therefore is now 
impossible to do work. 13 

On April 27, 1906 a meeting was held at which time it was decided 
to deliver up the Charter and the books to Grand Lodge. Following this 
meeting it was suggested that rather than have the lodge go into 
darkness, it might be better to amend the by-laws of N.W.M.P. Lodge so 
that civilians could be admitted and to move the meeting room location 
from the old N.W.M.P. Barracks to a downtown location. On May 
18,1906 another meeting was held and the motion to surrender the 
Charter was rescinded. At the same time the by-laws were amended to 
remove die clause requiring membership within the N.W.M.P. and it was 
agreed that the lodge should meet in the Regina Temple. This move was 
effected on October 4, 1906. Concomitant with the move was the 
realignment of the Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan and 
its renumbering as No. 11. Thus, what started as a pure police Lodge 
became a police lodge in name and seal only, for in 1934, the then 
Acting Justice Minister, Hon. E. A Lapointe, granted permission for 
N.W.M.P. Lodge No. 1 1 to use the crest of the N.W.M.P. as its official 
seal. And so it is to the present day. 

But all N.W.M.P. influence on Masonic affairs did not focus on 
Regina, for on January 31, 1905, Bro. T. R. D. Bottely, a R.N.W.M.P. 14 
officer arranged with a newspaper editor, a C.P.R. mechanic, a Methodist 
minister, two ranchers and a farmer to meet in the newspaper office for 
the purpose of forming a lodge in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. 
Dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Manitoba was granted on June 15, 
1905 and Swift Current Lodge became the second last lodge in 
Saskatchewan to be granted dispensation from the Grand Lodge of 
Manitoba. 15 

By 1905 die Great North West evolved into the Provinces of Alberta 
and Saskatchewan. By 1920 the N.W.M.P. and the R.N.W.M.P. also 



evolved into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which, following 
absorption of the old Dominion Police, became Canada wide in scope. 
Name changes and extent of jurisdiction notwithstanding, the influence 
of individual members who were Masons continued to be felt. 

Foremost among them was Stuart Taylor Wood, son of Insp. Zachary 
Taylor Wood, the man who was to become one of the longest serving 
Commissioners of the R.C.M.P.. Commissioner Wood was born near 
Maple Creek and spent his youth in and around that area. He retained a 
keen interest in the area, particularly Fort Walsh, which had by this time, 
been long abandoned and was in a state of disrepair. It was under 
Commissioner Wood that Fort Walsh was rebuilt and designated an 
Historical Site by the Government of Canada. The R.C.M.P. ranch near 
the site of the old Fort was used as the re-mount station for almost 35 

The modern day R.C.M.P. really emerged under Commissioner 
Wood. Under his tutelage the Force entered into Policing contracts with 
8 Provinces and several Municipalities. These contracts have been 
renewed on a continuing basis to the present. It was also under his 
guidance that the old Provincial Police Forces in Alberta, British 
Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland were 
amalgamated within the RC.M.P. Tins in itself was no easy task and that 
it did occur with minimal disruption is a testament to the will and 
determination of Commissioner Wood. S.T. Wood was also the 
individual who was ultimately responsible for founding the Canadian 
Police College wliich continues to serve all police services in Canada and 

Commissioner Wood was an active 33 rd Degree Mason. He joined the 
Craft in Alberta and kept active in lodges wherever he was posted. 

S.T. Wood was replaced as Commissioner by Leonard H. Nicholson, 
another active Mason whose mother lodge was in British Columbia. 
Commissioner Nicholson's tenure as head of the Force was all too short; 
in 1959 he resigned rather than follow the dictates of another Mason, Rt. 
Hon. John George Diefenbaker, Prime Minister of Canada, who ordered 
Nicholson to commit members of the Force as strike breakers in the 
Newfoundland logging dispute. Many members of the Force, myself 
included, viewed Nicholson's actions as being the only honourable way 
out of this dilemma. Certainly history has proven him correct. 

Following Commissioner Nicholson's resignation, the Government 
of Canada embarked upon an unwritten policy of alternating 
Francophones and Anglophones in the office of Commissioner. To date 



no Francophone Commissioner has been a member of the Craft. Of the 
Anglophone incumbents, Clifford W. Harvison, George B. McLelland 
and Robert Simmonds were all members of the Craft. Only T. Leonard 
Higgett and Norman D. Inkster were not. Commissioners Harvison and 
McLelland were both very active within Masonic circles during their 
tenure in Ottawa. They attended meetings on a regular basis and did a 
great deal of speaking at Masonic events. Unfortunately Commissioner 
Simmonds curtailed his activities when he assumed the position of 
Commissioner. I can say from personal experience, however, that he 
continued to be well disposed towards the Craft throughout his tenure in 
office. I am also pleased to note that the present Commissioner, Philip 
Murray, although not a member, holds Freemasonry in the highest 

But it was not only those Masons who achieved the highest office 
within the Force who have made valuable contributions to Canada in 
general and to law enforcement endeavors in particular. 

Supt. (Rtd.) Rod Williamson, who, for many years was the officer in 
cliarge of the Musical Ride and developed it into one of the most popular 
Canadian symbols joined the Masonic order in British Columbia. He was 
an active Mason throughout his career and continues to serve as a 
member of the Retired R.C.M.P. Officers' Degree Team operating out of 

Deputy Commissioner (Rtd.) Henry B. Jensen, who continues to hold 
membership within his mother lodge in Vancouver, was the originator 
of the R.C.M.P. Commercial Crime Unit which for many years, served 
as a model for other similar units in Police Services across the country. 

C/Supt. (Rtd.) Will Drew who is viewed by many as the Father of 
the modern Forensic Lab system within the Force, is a member of another 
British Columbia Lodge and occasionally attends meetings in the Ottawa 

As you will note, I have, by and large, cited examples of members 
who were in prominent positions and whose names are familiar to the 
general public. This does not mean to say that countless numbers of 
others have not made valuable contributions: indeed, their day to day 
efforts in the small towns and communities across this country have had 
a far greater impact upon Canadian society than one can imagine. 

The important thing to consider is not who was a member of the 
Masonic Order, but, why. Why is it that so many members of the 
N.W.M.P., R.N.W.M.P. and R.C.M.P. were also active Masons? What 
is it that drew members of the Force to the Fraternity? 



For many stationed in the small towns and communities of Western 
Canada, and of more recent times, within Maritime communities, it was 
the only game in town. Besides the church, the local Masonic Lodge was 
the only spot where members of the Force could set aside their Mountie 
persona and meet as individuals with men of like character from the 
community and surrounding area. I can well remember that most of the 
R.C.M.P. members stationed within the small Alberta town in which I 
was raised, attended Lodge regularly. One in particular comes to mind - 
S/Sgt. (Rtd.) Arnold Mansell who was not only responsible for my 
joining the R.C.M.P., but, who accompanied my father on each of his 
official visits the year that Dad was D.D.G.M. for Calgary District. 

Another contributing factor may well have been subtle peer pressure. 
Until the late 1950s when marriage restrictions were removed, single 
members were housed in barracks or rooming houses. Thus, whether you 
wanted it or not, you were always living in close proximity to most of 
your work mates. In such situations, it was not uncommon for one 
member to join the local lodge and soon be followed by others. One only 
has to look at the membership ledger for Dalhousie Lodge No. 52 to note 
that several initiates for a number of years had the same address - 37 
Spadina Avenue which was the large R.C.M.P. Barracks. 16 

Like any other sector of society, there were those who, having been 
raised in homes where fathers and other family members had been 
Masons, joined as a matter of course. Being a Mason was a natural 
extension of their lives and being. 

And finally, there were those who joined for ulterior motives. Some 
believed that their careers would be enhanced if they joined the lodge in 
which their superiors had membership, while others firmly believed that 
one had to be a Mason to get ahead. 17 The vast majority of these people 
soon let their membership lapse as, bitter and disillusioned, they found 
that lodge activities and career aspirations were separate issues. 

So now we come to the final question - what is the relationship 
between Freemasonry and the R.C.M.P. today? 

First and foremost, I regret to say that fewer and fewer members of 
the R.C.M.P. are members of the Masonic Fraternity. This is due to in 
part to recruiting policies; white, Anglo-Saxon males, who for many 
years were not only the backbone of the Force but also the backbone of 
the Masonic fraternity, are now on the bottom of the pecking order. In 
order to meet Government priorities, females, other visible minorities and 
Francophones now head the list of preferred candidates. Unfortunately, 
few of these people seek membership in Freemasonry. 



The change in marriage regulations™ which did away with the large 
pool of single men that once was the mainstay of the Force, that group 
who because they had no family ties, could be moved from town to town 
or province to province at a moment's notice, and who became the pool 
from which Masonry garnered new members, has also had a considerable 
impact. Single men found Masonry attractive: it gave them a sense of 
belonging to the community, it provided them with the opportunity to 
garner close ties and bonds with people from outside the Mounted Police 
family and made their introduction and transition to any new community 
that much easier. 

Another contributing factor is the competing demands for the spare 
time of members. Family activities, the upgrading of professional skills 
and education, sporting activities and any number of other demands all 
compete for the member's time and attention. Coupled with this is the 
impact that the previous drop out generation is having - the promotion 
of a tendency to shy away from joining - the feeling that one can be 
complete and satisfied without having to formally join any club, group or 
association. 19 

I also believe that there lias been a change in members' attitudes over 
the years. It is my belief that whereas the R.C.M.P. was for many years 
viewed by its members as a way of life as well as a profession, a very 
close knit family tliat looked after its own and served the community, and 
who, by following a strict moral path became the epitome of esprit des 
corps, it has now become just another government job. Members are 
content to work their 7.5 hour shift and then retreat into the comfort of 
their homes. Community service has been taken over by other layers of 
government bureaucracy and members no longer feel the pressing need 
to become involved. Tins same degree of apathy spreads to the thought 
of involvement in groups such as Freemasonry or other service clubs. 

The association between the police and the small towns and rural 
communities is not as close as it once was. Escalating costs have led to 
the closure of small, one-man detachments with policing now being 
directed from consolidated detachments in larger centers. This means 
that patrol officers are dispatched as and when required and only 
infrequently, does the same officer attend to the same area. Accordingly, 
local residents no longer come to know those who provide the policing 
services for them and, as a consequence, fewer and fewer members seek 
admission to the local lodge. 

And finally, the quiet and unassuming manner in winch most 
Masons go about their work and their frequent shunning of public 



recognition, militates against members joining. Men seeking to join an 
organization will often turn to those that they hear the most about or see 
most often on television. The large billboard on a park or baseball 
diamond telling the world at large that it was the local Lions Club who 
donated or maintain the property gains far more public recognition than 
does the small Square and Compasses one has to search to find above the 
door of the local Masonic Center. 

This does not mean that Masonry does not continue to 
play a role in the life of many members, for it does. Whether 
active or not, there can be no doubt that you may take the man 
from Masonry, but you will never be able to take Masonry 
from the man. Thus, it is my firm belief that Masonry and the 
R.C.M.P. will continue to be linked and that as long as there 
is a Force, there will be Masons as members who will continue 
to gain uplift and benefit from their association with both great 


Kemp, Vernon: Without Fear Favor or Affection: Longmans, Green 

and Company, Toronto, On. 1958 

Long, Philip S.: Jerry Potts, Scout, Frontiersman and Hero: Bonanza 

Books, Calgary, AB, 1974 

McConica, Thos. H and Hanna, Hugh S.: Historical Preface to the 

History ofN. W.M.P. Lodge No. 11, Regina, SK 

Steele, Samuel B.: Forty Years in Canada - Reminiscences of the 

Great North West: Dodd, Mead and Co. New York, 1915 

Tlie Beaver - Exploring Canada's History June/ July, 1 998 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Archived Material including: Official 

Letters written from Dr. John G. Kitson to Col. French: Diary Accounts 

of Major James Walsh: Diary Accounts of Col. French: Diary Accounts 

of Lieut. Col. McLeod: Commissioners' Annual Reports for various 

years: R.C.M.P. Historical Section Documents: Sam Steele Diaries and 




End Notes 

1 Thos. H. McConica and Hugh S. Hanna: Historical preface to the 
History of N.W.M.P. Lodge No. 11, Regina, Sask. 

2 This reference was contained in Confidential records maintained 
within the R.C.M.P. Archives to winch the writer had access. Apart 
from the one reference, I have been unable to confirm this as 
factual through any form of Lodge or Grand Lodge record. 

3 There are those who will argue that Steele's rapid promotion was 
due to the fact that both he and Major Walsh had served in the 
same Artillery Regiment. Be this as it may, there can be no doubt 
that Steele was well equipped to handle the task at hand. 

4 Lisgar Lodge No. 244 was at tins time under the jurisdiction of the 
Grand Lodge of Canada winch is now the Grand Lodge of Canada 
in the Province of Ontario. It has since been placed under the 
jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. 

5 Major Crozier came from an old and well established Kingston 
area family. His father was a long time friend and supporter of Sir 
John A. Macdonald. Major Crozier commenced military service 
with the Royal Artillery and is believed to have joined 
Freemasonry while stationed in England. 

6 Jim Wallace: A Double Duty, Banker to Bunker Books, Winnipeg, 
Manitoba, 1997 p. 97. 

7 Kitson, John G.: December 1874 Report to Commissioner French 
concerning general welfare of the troops. 

8 Steele, Samuel B. : Forty Years In Canada — Reminiscences of the 
Great North West: Dodd Mead and Co., New York, 1915. 

9 Records held in R.C.M.P. Archives, Ottawa 

10 Historical records, N.W.M.P. Lodge No. 11, Regina, Saskatchewan 
11,12, 13 — ibid 

14 hi 1904, King Edward VII granted the "Royal" designation in 
recognition of services rendered. 

15 The Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan was officially formed hi August, 


16 Membership Ledger of Dalhousie Lodge No. 52, Ottawa 

17 For many years there was a crude reference to R.C.M.P. really 
meaning Royal Canadian Masonic Police 

18 Initially members of the N.W.M.P. could not be married until they 
had at least 12 years' service. This was subsequently lowered to 
seven years, then five years, then three years and was eventually 
done away with altogether. When I was married I still had to have 
five years' service before permission would be granted. 

19 This phenomenon is not limited to the R.C.M.P. but seems to be 
quite universal in application. 




by C. E. Balfour Le GRESLEY 

in University Lodge No. 496 G.R.C. 

Annette Street Masonic Temple 
Toronto, Ontario - March 17, 1999 

The action of a Grand Master to make a Mason On Sight has not 
been uncommon across the many Masonic jurisdictions throughout the 
world however it has been a rare event in Canada. This process describes 
a situation where a Grand Master takes it upon himself to initiate, pass 
and raise a willing candidate of his choice, giving him all three degrees 
at one meeting in a special session of Grand Lodge. This candidate has 
not applied to join a Lodge, neither has he been investigated and accepted 
by ballot, so, he becomes a Master Mason at large in the jurisdiction and 
is eligible to affiliate with any Lodge which will accept him. 

At every Installation we hear that Masons are obliged to obey the 
Ancient Landmarks - whatever that is supposed to mean. The 19 th century 
American Masonic historian, Albert Mackey, published a list of twenty- 
five items he claimed were Landmarks and some Grand Lodges have 
accepted them as a part of their Constitution. One of his Landmarks was 
the prerogative of a Grand Master to make a Mason On Sight. Our Grand 
Lodge, on the other hand, lias never made a list of what it considers to be 
the Landmarks, and as it does not recognize Mackey 's list there is 
nothing in our Constitution to approve such a ceremony, however that 
does not necessarily make it illegal. We shall consider this point later. 

The making of a Mason On Sight has been done only three times in 
Canada, and only once in Ontario. The first such event took place in 
University Lodge 496, on October 13, 1937. While this event has been 
previously reported, this paper is the first that quotes the original minutes 
of the Lodge which give us the details of the event. So, let us imagine we 
are back in 1937, attending the annual University Night meeting of 
University Lodge in the big lodge room at 888 Yonge Street here in 



The circumstances surrounding this event could not have been more 
appropriate to the occasion. The newly elected Grand Master, M.W. Bro. 
William James Dunlop was a 2 3 -year member of University Lodge, 
which he had served as Master in 1922 and as D.D.G.M. in 1927. The 
69-year-old candidate, the Honourable and Reverend Dr. Henry John 
Cody, was a distinguished Canadian, and President of the University of 
Toronto. Since 1917, he had often been guest speaker at lodge functions, 
particularly on University Night, which was the anniversary of the 
Constitution and Consecration of the Lodge. He was respected by the 
members and was a close friend of Dr. Dunlop and much admired by 

There was little advance notice of tins event. The summons for 
October 1937 gave the usual brief announcement of a regular meeting 
followed by an uncommon, full-page, detailed, almost minute-by-minute, 
programme for the evening. Several groups of visitors were to be 
received, starting at 7:35 p.m. First came Masonic students of the 
University and invited visiting lodges in which M.W.Bro. Dunlop held 
membership. These included Antiquity, Ashlar, Grey, Imperial and 
Peterborough 155. Next, to be received alone, was Bro. Lieut. Col. Dr. 
Herbert A. Bruce, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, a Charter Member of 
University Lodge, and speaker of the evening, then last, at 8:10 p.m., 
would come the Grand Master and Officers of Grand Lodge. From 8:10 
until 9:00, a period of 50 minutes, the Summons stated that, A Unique 
Masonic Ceremony (in the hands of the G.M.) was to take place. After 
that, Bro. Dr. Bruce was allotted from 9:05 to 9:25 for his address on The 
Coronation As I Saw It, to be followed by closing at 9:35 p.m. 

For the banquet to follow, there was to be entertainment by the 
Riverdale Collegiate Institute Orchestra playing from 9:45 until the pre- 
banquet Toast to the King was given at 10:05. Following dinner and the 
Toast to Grand Lodge there were to be comments by Dr. H. J. Cody, 
President of the University, and Dr. Bruce Macdonald, Chairman of the 
Board of Governors of the University. All of this was to be followed by 
the Toast to the Visitors, the Junior Warden's Toast and closing with God 
Save the King. It was an interesting but a very non-committal 
programme in view of what was to come. 

The front page of the October Bulletin 496, (the monthly lodge 
newsletter then in its second year of publication) said little more, giving 
only the names of the Masters of the several invited lodges. On the back 
page was a brief notice entitled Enquiries re October 13th winch listed 
the names of a Committee arranging the details of University Night 
under the chairmanship of W.Bro. C. E. Higginbottom. The other 



members of this Committee who will be pleased to answer any enquiries 
were, The Master, W.Bro. C. S. Gulston, W.Bro. R. O. Hurst, Bro. A. E. 
MacGregor S.W., Bro. F. R. Lorriman J.W., and Bro. Wm. Dowds, 
Secretary. W.Bro. Dowds, now approaching age 97 is the only member 
of the committee alive today in 1999. He has told me that the committee 
was given no meaningful advance information to report beyond the 
details of the published schedule. 

The September issue of Bulletin 496 had also given an advance 
notice of the event, describing it as the most important meeting of the 
1937 Masonic year, mentioning that some of the most distinguished 
members of the University are to be with us, naming Dr. Cody, Dr. 
Macdonald, Dr. Bruce and Dr. Dunlop who was to be formally received 
as Grand Master for the first time by his Lodge, and noting that this 
meeting will be further enhanced by an event of moment to Masonry in 
this Grand Jurisdiction but once again giving little hint of what was to 

The Tyler's Register for the meeting of October 13, 1937 shows a 
large attendance of about 300 with 78 officers and members of University 
Lodge and about 220 visitors from more than 90 lodges, including those 
specially invited as named above. Many came from great distance. The 
above number of 300 was somewhat less than was reported in either the 
newspapers or in the minutes for the meeting. Perhaps it was difficult to 
count exactly as some brethren may not have recorded their names or the 
names and numbers of their lodges legibly, and some members signed on 
the visitors' pages. The large attendance does however suggest that there 
must have been some widely dispersed announcement that this was to be 
a very special meeting, even for the reception of a new Grand Master by 
his lodge. 

The following Minutes of University Lodge describe what took place, 
beginning with the reception of Grand Lodge at about 8:20 p.m.: 

W.Bro. D. ofC. then introduced the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. 
W. J. Dunlop, accompanied by his Grand Lodge Officers, Past 
and Present. After Grand Lodge Honours had been given, the 
Grand Master assumed the gavel and stated that he was about 
to make a Mason in a most unusual manner. He stated that the 
ceremony had been performed before, in other jurisdictions, but 
never before in this jurisdiction. M.W.Bro. Dunlop requested 
the following Grand Lodge Officers to assume the respective 
chairs, forming an occasional session of Grand Lodge: 



I.P.M. Grand Secy R. W.Bro. E. G. Dixon 
S. W. G.S. W. R. W.Bro. Smith Shaw 

J. W. GJ. W. R. W.Bro. J. A. Ream 

Chaplain G. Chaplain R. W.Bro. W. C White 
D. ofC Asst.G.D. ofC V. W.Bro. A. A. Kinghom 
I. G. P. D. D. G.M. R. W. Bro. Harry A lexander 

S.D. P.D.D. G.M. R. W.Bro. W. J. Moore 

J.D. P.G.S.B. V. W.Bro. W. S. Kirkland 

Secy. PAsst. G.Secy V. W.Bro. W. J. Attig 

The minutes continue, The Reverend Dr. H. J. Cody, President 
of the University of Toronto, was escorted to the Altar by the 
Deacons on the instruction of the Grand Master. Dr. Cody 
indicated his willingness to become a Mason and was given the 
obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason by the Grand 

I should point out here that the Minutes do not say how Dr. Cody 
was brought into the Lodge, or if he was formally received. The Minutes 
continue with the heading: 

Second Deg: Dr. Cody was allowed to remain in the Lodge and 
the Lodge was opened in the Second Degree. At the Altar Dr. 
Cody took the obligation of a Fellowcraft administered by the 
Grand Master. 

Third Deg. .The Lodge was opened in the Third Degree and Dr. 
Cody was declared a Master Mason by the Grand Master after 
he had given him the obligation of the Third Degree. M. W.Bro. 
Dunlop presented his own Master Mason's apron to Dr. Cody. 

Closing, 3 rd & 2 nd : M. W.Bro. Dunlop then closed the special 
session of Grand Lodge in the 3 rd and 2 nd Degrees. At 9: 1 Op. m. 
the Grand Master turned the meeting and the gavel over to 
W.Bro. Gulston, Master of University Lodge. 

Following comments and a half-hour address by Bro. Dr. H. A. 
Bruce, and a short one by R. W.Bro. R. A. Williams, a former member of 
University Lodge then residing in Florida, the W.M. retired with the 
guests of the evening with W.Bro. W. H. Bonus assuming the gavel. The 
Minutes continue, Notice of Motion: W.Bro. C E. Higginbottom gave 
notice that at the next regular meeting he would move or cause to be 
moved that Bro. H J. Cody be made an Honorary Life Member of 
University Lodge. 

Closing: The Lodge was closed in Harmony in the First Deg. at 
10.05 p.m. 



Those who have read the above minutes in the years since 1937 have 
been thankful to the Secretary, W.Bro. Wm. Dowds for the details that 
were recorded in describing this unusual ceremony - especially so as 
Masons known to liave been present have seemed reticent to comment on 
the occasion. The minutes show that within a 50-minute period, the new 
Grand Master and his officers were received, the ceremony explained, the 
officers of the evening assumed and later relinquished the chairs, the 
lodge was opened and closed in both the second and third degrees, and 
Dr. Cody was given the obligations in all three degrees then invested 
with an apron and proclaimed a Master Mason. 

The meeting was likewise unusual as both the Toronto Star and the 
Evening Telegram, next day announced the event with a photograph 
taken outside the lodge room and considerable discussion of what had 
been done. 

From an entire column headed in large print, Unique Ceremony 
Makes Dr. H J. Cody Master Mason and subtitled, Honour Conferred 
"At Sight", First Time in 100 Years by University Lodge. This was in the 
Telegram of Thursday October 14th, where we also learn (in part): 

University Night in University Lodge, A. F. &A.M., No. 496, 
was celebrated last night with a ceremony unique in Canadian 
Masonic annals. M. W.Bro. W. J. Dunlop, Grand Master of the 
Grand Lodge of Canada, occupied the Master's chair, and, 
exercising the prerogative of the Grand Master, called a special 
communication of the Grand Lodge, and made Hon. Dr. H J. 
Cody, President of the University of Toronto, a Master Mason 
in a most interesting ceremony. 

According to the Grand Master, the making of a Mason At 
Sight has not been without precedent, but the right has not been 
exercised in Canada for at least 100 years, and has not been 
exercised in the Grand Lodge of England for 150 years. In 
recent years, William Taft, when President of the United States, 
was made a Mason At Sight by the Grand Lodge of 

The imposing sight was witnessed by University men from all 
parts of Ontario to the number of about 500, and by R. W.Bro. 
Dr. A. Williams, Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Florida 
and graduate of Toronto University, who travelled 1,500 miles 
to witness the function, three members ofSachwan Lodge, West 
China - Dr. Wilfred, Walter Small and Dr. H. Wangs, who came 
3, 000 miles, were also interested witnesses. 



This article continues at length with mention of other details of the 
event, listing the officers of the evening, naming the visiting lodges and 
giving a report of the several addresses of the evening. 

Three other newspaper reports, one definitely (and possibly all three) 
from the October 14th edition of the Toronto Star, gave two other 
versions, and a photo showing M.W.Bro. Dunlop, Bro. Dr. H. A. Bruce 
and R.W. Bro. Dr. R A. Williams, all standing on a stair. Of the articles, 
one, titled, Unique Honour for Dr. Cody and subtitled, Becomes Master 
Mason At Sight in Rare Ceremony and University Lodge Meets, gave the 
following more concise report: 

In a ceremony unique in the records of world Freemasonry, and 
enacted perhaps only once in a century, Dr. H. J. Cody, 
President of the University of Toronto, was last night made a 
Master Mason At Sight, that is without the usual steps or 
preliminary instruction of an initiate of the craft. 

Dr. Cody became a member of University Lodge of the Masonic 
Order in the presence of 400 members and guests of the lodge, 
representative of many other lodges in Ontario and other 

W. J. Dunlop, Grand Master in Ontario, explained the unusual 
honour was conferred on Dr. Cody in recognition of his 
outstanding contribution to the culture and brotherhood of man 
through the agencies of church and university. The ceremony 
was conducted by Grand Lodge officers led by the Grand 
Master, by whose prerogative the immediate membership >vas 

Dr. Cody and Dr. Bruce Macdonald, Chairman of the Board of 
Governors of the University, addressed the members. Lieut- 
Governor H .A. Bruce spoke on The Coronation as I Saw It. 

The other article, from the Toronto Star, presented a less- 
enthusiastic view of the occasion and may have been an expression of 
what was in the minds of others who attended. Titled Alderman Howell 
Criticizes Masonic Honour To Dr. Cody and subtitled, Admission to 
Masonry at Sight Carried Out by Grand Master in University Lodge: 

Masonic circles in Toronto rumbled today with reverberations 
of last nights unique ceremony at Masonic Temple when Dr. H 
J. Cody, president of the University of Toronto, was made a 
Master Mason at sight by W J. Dunlop, Grand Master in 
Ontario, and Director of Extension at the university. 



I did not think, as I watched that ceremony, that it was in the 
best interests of Freemasonry, or of Canon Cody himself, 
remarked Walter Howell, former alderman and a high-ranking 

I did not think it was necessary, he continued. If a man wants to 
become a Mason, he is better off starting at the bottom. The 
lessons I learned when I was taking my first, second and third 
degrees have been very valuable to me. The whole idea of 
progressing through the ranks is an important part of 
Freemasonry. Canon Cody would have benefited by the study 
that the various degrees necessitate. 

In the United States it is sometimes done to honour very 
distinguished men. I grant that Canon Cody is not, perhaps, just 
an ordinary man, but is he sufficiently distinguished, does he 
stand out among his fellow men enough, for this extraordinary 
honour to be given him? That is the question in my mind and in 
the minds of many other Masons. 

I'd rather not discuss the action of the Grand Master, said John 
A. Rowland, Past Grand Master of Ontario, but it is something 
which I decidedly did not ever do. Time will show if there is any 
resentment over what was done last night. 

The article continues to discuss the event at some length with 
general comments by the Grand Master and supportive words by the 
immediate Past Grand Master, M.W.Bro. A. J. Anderson who said: 

It was certainly a very great honour to bestow on Dr. Cody. Mr. 
Dunlop has been associated with Dr. Cody for many years and 
I think this honour was very fitly applied. 

Now, having read all that, let us once again return to the records of 
University Lodge. The next Summons and Bulletin 496 issued by the 
lodge for the month of November 1937 seemed almost too routine. The 
only indication of the event in the Summons was the printed Notice of 
Motion made by W.Bro. Higginbottom that Bro. Cody be made an 
Honorary Life Member of the Lodge, and that a ballot on this would be 
taken at the regular communication on November 10th. The Lodge 
Bulletin 496 gave the following report of the meeting, perhaps giving 
even less detail than was routinely used to describe a regular meeting of 
the Lodge. 

Grand Lodge has conferred a great honour on University Lodge 
by selecting our regular meeting of October 13 as the place and 
occasion for making Dr. H.J. Cody a Master Mason At Sight. 



This unique ceremony, which had never before been performed 
in this jurisdiction, far eclipsed any of the stirring University 
Nights of previous years. As the proceedings of the evening 
were fully covered in the press we need not go into great detail 
here but for the benefit of our out-of-town brethren who do not 
see Toronto papers we give a few notes. 

The meeting was attended by about 425 brethren. Each of 
Peterborough, Antiquity, Imperial, Valley, Grey, and Mimico 
Lodges attended in a body, led by its ruling Master. 

Among the visitors was our KW.Bro. Williams, who came 1,500 
miles from Florida for the ceremony. His address in the lodge 
room will long be remembered. 

Three members of KW.Bro. Rev. W. C. White's* mother lodge, 
Sachwan in West China, were also welcome and interested 
visitors. 'Former Bishop of Honan, China; Grand Chaplain, G.R.C. 

At the banquet table the Grand Master replied to the toast to 
Grand Lodge, while the regular University Night address, this 
time combined with a speech by the newly initiated candidate 
was given by Bro. Dr. Cody. 

So, this report adds nothing new and could have been or perhaps 
was, taken from the articles printed earlier in the Telegram and the Star. 
It could perhaps, also have been influenced by comments made at the 
intervening meeting of the Committee of General Purposes held on 
Thursday October 28, however, printing may possibly have been required 
before this date to allow time for delivery before the regular meeting in 

The Committee of General Purposes met on October 28, with 29 
members present. Those minutes deal with routine correspondence, 
accounts, a report was made on the Board of Masonic Relief, and another 
on members in distress. One or two other routine matters were 
considered, but no mention whatever was made of the events of the 
previous regular meeting. It was as if it had not happened. 

However, there is something very odd here. The Minutes show that 
this meeting began at 7:40 p.m. but did not close until 11:25 p.m. 
therefore lasting almost four hours - a very long time in relation to the 
amount of business reported. The Minutes of similar committee meetings 
held in prior and later months show that they rarely took more than one 
hour to complete the same amount of work. One wonders what was 
discussed in the extra three hours on October 28th. W.Bro. Win. Dowds, 
still declines to comment on that meeting where he was the Secretary, 



The next regular meeting of University Lodge was held on 
November 10, with the names of 38 members and six visitors recorded 
as present. The Minutes do not suggest that W.Bro. C .E. Higginbottom 
who had given the notice of motion for ballot that night, was present, 
however, the Register records his signature among those that attended. 
The routine business was done and, being election night, the Officers for 
1938 were elected in due form. Mr. T. W. Dwight was then initiated. 
There followed a speaker, Bro. Rev. J. B. Paulin of Strict Observance 
Lodge in Hamilton, and last came the presentation of a regalia case to the 
new Asst. G. D. of C, V. W.Bro. Kinghorn. Contrary to reports in other 
research papers describing this event, the motion to elect Bro. Cody an 
Honorary Member was not made and he was never rejected by a 
Umversity Lodge ballot. The Master may have thought that it might not 
receive the unanimous favourable ballot required by the By-Laws and so 
the motion was never put although previous authors have said that he 
was rejected. 

In the months that followed, the Minutes of the several meetings 
contain no mention of Bro. Cody. It was not until the regular meeting of 
May 11, 1938 that a new Notice of Motion for him to be elected an 
Honorary Member was made, this time jointly by W.Bros. R J. Marshall 
and W. A. Doidge. 

At the regular meeting held on June 8, 1938, with 26 members 
present, it was moved by W.Bro. R. . Marshall, seconded by Bro. W. S. 
M. Enouy, that Bro. Dr. H. J. Cody be made an Honorary Member of 
this Lodge. The ballot was passed on this motion and proved to be 
unanimous in favour of the motion. The W.M. declared Bro. Cody 
elected an Honorary Member of the Lodge in accordance with Article 
VII of the By-Laws, becoming member No. 679 on the Lodge Register. 
W.Bro. Higginbottom was present on this occasion but is not reported as 
having taken any part in presenting the motion. 

At the regular meeting of October 12, 1938, Bro. Cody was brought 
into the lodge by the Director of Ceremonies, received graciously, then 
taken to sit in the East with the Master. Following the formal reception 
of the Grand Master, W.Bro. Higginbottom presented Bro. Cody with his 
certificate as an Honorary Life Member. This was followed by a 
presentation to lmn by W.Bro. R J. Marshall of the Book of Constitution 
and a copy of the newly revised By-Laws of the Lodge. Finally, Bro. 
Cody was conducted to the Secretary's desk to sign the Register. Later, 
at the banquet, Bro. Cody was once again the University Night speaker. 



As time passed it seems that this event was rarely mentioned among 
the members of University Lodge and eventually was forgotten. At the 
time there seemed to have been some who felt that just because their 
fellow Past Master was now Grand Master, he should not have done what 
he did. At least one Past Master and three Master Masons seem to have 
been sufficiently concerned that they requested demits but for most there 
seems to have been quiet acceptance. 

Finally, there are just a few other points that must be mentioned to 
complete this story. The events of 1938 demonstrate the great skill as a 
peacemaker possessed by M.W.Bro. Dunlop when, after only a few 
months, he was able to achieve harmony out of apparent chaos. But, 
perhaps he took some liberties. 

It is a tradition that the Grand Master, in his annual address at 
Grand Lodge, reports his activities of the preceding year by giving a list 
of all lus actions and his visits to lodges. He asks Grand Lodge to 
approve unusual appointments he has made or the past rank granted to 
a brother. A search of the 1938 Proceedings of Grand Lodge has yielded 
no mention whatever of lus unique venture in making Dr. Cody a Mason 
On Sight. It was an event which Grand Lodge was never given the 
opportunity to eidier approve or condemn. Our Constitution requires that 
the Grand Master obtain the approval of Grand Lodge for lus actions and 
some might argue that this lack of approval invalidated the ceremony of 
making Dr. Cody a Mason, while approval would have confirmed the 
future use of this ceremony. 

And there was another event which may have influenced University 
Lodge in its apparent change of heart with regard to making Bro. Cody 
an honorary member. When University Lodge at first hesitated to accept 
him, another lodge stepped in and did so. On May 27, 1938, the members 
of Prince of Wales Lodge No. 630, which was also a lodge of educators, 
voted to invite Bro. Cody to be their honorary member. He accepted. 
University, as well as Prince of Wales, each paid the commutation fee to 
Grand Lodge for liis life membership. For University, it was recorded in 
the Committee of General Purposes minutes of December 22, 1938 that 
M.W.Bro. Dunlop sent lus personal cheque to compensate the lodge for 
this expense. It is possible that he made a similar donation to Prince of 

The Prince of Wales intervention may well have been engineered by 
M.W.Bro. Dunlop. The Grand Lodge Register shows that both Cody and 
Dunlop were made honorary members of Prince of Wales on the same 
evening. This register further shows that Bro. Cody was never assigned 



a MM. certificate number, which implies that he was never given a 
Masonic certificate. It is pencilled in the register, signed by Dunlop, that 
Bro. Cody was made a Mason On Sight in University Lodge No. 496 
giving the date and thus assigning to University the primary allegiance 
of Bro. Cody. It lias been said that a little competition can work wonders 
and the action by Prince of Wales may have softened University in its 
unspoken objection so evident in the Fall and Winter of 1937. 


In conclusion, the procedure described above, quoting from 
original sources, attempts to de-mystify one case of the making of 
a Mason On Sight which was the first recorded in Canada. So far as 
is known there have only been two others which I shall mention very 

The second occurred in Edmonton, at the Grand Lodge of 
Alberta session on June 1 1, 1946, when Grand Master M.W.Bro. 
G.H. Crane-Williams opened an Occasional Lodge and gave all 
three degrees to his chosen candidate, Bishop W. F. Barfoot, 
Primate of the Anglican Church of all Canada. 

The third case took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when, on 
July 14, 1966, Bro. Ronald S. Longley, M.W. Grand Master of 
Masons in Nova Scotia convened an Occasional Lodge in the 
Commonwealth Room of Hotel Nova Scotia. The candidate was His 
Honour, Henry P. MacKeen, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, 
a man of many distinctions. The ceremonies were reported to be 
more complete and elaborate than the previous cases and involved 
the officers of the three oldest lodges in that jurisdiction. 

For more information on the history, including some discussion 
of the validity of the ceremony of making a Mason On Sight, as well 
as for reports of the three cases mentioned here, the Masonic student 
is referred to Paper #81, Making a Mason at Sight, of the Papers of 
the Canadian Masonic Research Association published in 1966 and 
reprinted in 1986 by The Heritage Lodge No. 730, in Volume III, 
page 1457. It will be noted that when writing this paper where it 
referred to the making of Dr. Cody by M.W.Bro. Dunlop, V.W.Bro. 
(later to become R.W.Bro.) J. L. Runnalls seems not to have had 
access to the original minutes of University Lodge as he reported 



mainly the comments from the Toronto Star and Telegram and from 
the University Lodge Bulletin 496, and also perhaps some personal 
comments, some of which can be seen as not in complete agreement 
with the facts found in the lodge minutes. He does however provide 
a valuable list of sources which might be of interest to those seeking 
further knowledge. 

A somewhat different point of view is presented in Making a 
Mason On Sight by Lewis L. Williams, published by the Illinois 
Lodge of Research Masonic Book Club, Bloomington, Illinois, 
1983. This larger volume gives a more general coverage of the topic 
over several jurisdictions, particularly those of the United States. 
The section dealing with the action of M.W.Bro. Dunlop in 1937 
was based on the earlier paper by R.W.Bro. Runnalls and will 
contain the inaccuracies reported there. 



Appendix A - M.W.Bro. William James Dunlop, A Brief Biography 

William James Dunlop was bom June 24, 1881 in the village of Durham, 
Ontario, eldest son of Rev. James C. Dunlop and Agnes Freel, who raised a 
family of nine children. Bill's grandparents had emigrated from Scotland to 
Upper Canada in 1833 and his father had been bom near Ottawa so the family 
were well-established Canadians by the time of Bill's birth. By 1891 the 
family was in Stayner where Bill attended the Continuation School as the 
lower high school was called and finished his high schooling at the Collegiate 
in Collingwood, graduating in 1 900 with an Honour Matriculation. 

After a year studying Modem Languages at the University of Toronto he 
obtained a teacher's certificate and in 1902 began teaching in a one-room 
school in Huron County near Clinton for a salary of $325 per year. Next he 
taught in Tavistock for three years and then in Peterborough from 1907 to 
1910, and it was here that he was initiated into Peterborough Lodge No. 155 
in 1908 at age 27. The year 1910 was a good one for Dunlop. University 
Lodge was formed and he was to move to Toronto to join the staff of the newly 
formed. University of Toronto Schools where he taught until 1920. During 
these years while he taught others, he continued to improve his own education 
and in April 1914, he affiliated with University Lodge. The year 1916 saw 
him appointed to his first lodge office, that of Junior Steward. 

In 1 920, the university decided to create a new department called the 
Department of Extension and Publicity and Bill Dunlop was chosen to be its 
director. He continued in this position for 3 1 years and gradually built his 
department into the largest one in the University of Toronto. During this time 
he served as W.M. of University Lodge in 1922, District Deputy Grand 
Master of Toronto District "D" in 1927 and in July, 1937 was installed as 
Grand Master. A remarkable series of achievements, yet he was not yet 
finished. He was elected Grand Treasurer for 1 8 consecutive years and during 
this time also served as Custodian of the Work. 

By June of 1 95 1 , he had become 70 years old, the age at which he must 
retire from his university position. He had now served 49 years as an educator 
since he first began teaching in the one-room country school in Huron County. 
But fate, in the person of the Honourable Leslie Frost, Premier of Ontario, 
knocked at his door and more or less said, Bill, I have a job for you - / am 
appointing you Minister of Education for Ontario, you will have to run for 
Parliament in a By-election. He ran, was elected and took his seat in 
Parliament. He served as Minister of Education through two more elections 
and was only relieved of his duties due to illness a few months before his 
death in 1961, being still the Conservative member for the Toronto Eglinton 
Riding and a member of the cabinet. He had now served education for 59 
years. This was the human dynamo who in 1937 made Rev. Canon Cody, 
President of the University a Mason On Sight. He has been described by some 
as the greatest Grand Master our Grand Lodge has had this century. 



Appendix B 

A brief biography of the initiate, Rev. Canon H. J. Cody is also 
appropriate here. I cannot call him an applicant, nor can I call him a 
candidate, because he never applied to join a lodge and no ballot was taken to 
allow him to become a Mason. The following obituary was written by 
M.W.Bro. Dunlop in 1951 following his death. 

The Honourable, Reverend, Henry John Cody, M.A., D.D., LL.D., 
C.M.G. who passed to the Grand Lodge Above on April 27, 1 95 1 , at the age 
of 82, was a member of Prince of Wales Lodge No. 630 as well as of 
University Lodge No. 496. His intimate friends, knowing his achievements in 
the church, in education and in public life, considered him the greatest 
Canadian of his time. Probably he was the only Canadian who was made a 
Mason At Sight though some university presidents and some generals in the 
United States have been accorded that honour. 

He was born and educated in the little Village of Embro; attended Dr. 
Tossie's Grammar School in Gait; and was one of the most brilliant graduates 
of the University of Toronto, heading his classes and winning medals and 
prizes in two honour courses, Classics and Philosophy. 

He was an eloquent and inspiring preacher; was Rector of St. Paul's 
Anglican Church, Toronto, for 33 years; helped to re-organize the University 
of Toronto in 1905-6, was member of Parliament and Minister of Education 
for Ontario in 1918-19; member of the Board of Governors of the University 
and Chairman of that board from 1923-32; President of the University, 1932- 
45; and Chancellor, 1944-47. 

He was a great man and one of the greatest of his characteristics was 
kindness. He was very interested in people and had remarkable ability in 
remembering names and faces. Everywhere he went in Canada, in the United 
States, in the British Isles, or elsewhere, he found friends because he was 
friendly. Always cheerful and happy, he helped and inspired everyone he met, 
from the King to the humblest panhandler on the street. 

And he was a Canadian, first, last, and always, and proud he was to be 
a citizen of our country. Gratefully and courteously he declined high church 
positions elsewhere because he felt that his greatest contribution to Canadian 
life lay close to the university from which he graduated and which he served 
so loyally and so efficiently for almost six decades. 

(For a more detailed biography of Bro. Cody which describes his 

many achievements in detail, one is referred to the report published 

in Wlw 's Who in Canada following his death in 1951) 





by W.Bro. John F. Sutherland 

R.W.Bro. LeGresley should be congratulated on adding the finishing 
touches to a Masonic story that until this evening was only partially told. 
Bro. LeGresley now uses the Lodge Minutes which give us a much more 
complete view of not only what happened that night, but also a good 
sense of the mixed feelings the members of University Lodge held with 
regards to the event. Within the walls of University Lodge it was a very 
controversial topic, yet outside that lodge and especially today it first 
appears to be a most intriguing Masonic story. 

In 1986 R. W.Bro. LeGresley complied and reprinted the C.M.R.A. 
Papers for The Heritage Lodge. The two papers that are of interest to us 
now are in Volume III; Paper # 80: Wm. James Dunlop, First President, 
C.M.RA. by Roy S. Foley and Paper #81 Making a Mason at Sight by G. 
R. Sterling and J. Lawrence Runnalls. I would advise the brethren to read 
both articles to appreciate the previous research for this story. 

Those two C.M.R.A. papers used some of the same source material 
that Bro. LeGresley uses; such as articles from some Toronto newspapers, 
like the Telegram and Star, and the Lodge's Bulletin 496. Bro. LeGresley 
now uses them in more detail to give us a better idea of the impact of that 
evenings event. 

I am curious about the Masonic and even political impact the article 
quoting Walter Howell may have had. Can you imagine a member of 
another lodge, who was quoted in a local newspaper giving negative 
comments concerning activities that took place in your own lodge? 

Throughout the life of any lodge there are moments when we have 
differences of opinions, or even ill feelings. The University Lodge's 
executive meeting of Oct. 28 has three extra hours that were not fully 
accounted for. How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall that 
night. Today's brethren of University Lodge could have a very 



entertaining and enlightening time if they were to attempt to reenact that 
evening's meeting. 

A cairn, just south of Embro, denotes the many generations of 
Cody's that lived in the area as well as the location for what was once 
called the Cody School. Just outside of the village is a provincial heritage 
sign noting that Henry John Cody was born and spent his early years in 
the Embro area. 

Our thanks to R.W.Bro. LeGresley for showing us the rest of the 





in Morning Star Lodge No. 309 

Carlow Masonic Temple, Carlow, Ontario 

May 19 th , 1999 

The advancement of time and achievement can be marked through 
celebration and part of celebration is to establish a place in time. The 
Brethren of Morning Star Lodge No. 309, Carlow, wish to acknowledge 
the presence of The Heritage Lodge No. 730, as having been a part of 
their 125th Anniversary. 

A history of the lodges of South Huron District would not be 
complete without first establishing a foundation upon which they de- 
veloped; that foundation was the settlement and subsequent development 
of the Huron Land Tract between 1830 and 1860. The rise of the lodges 
parallels settlement patterns and transportation routes: road and rail. 

The District itself is more than a century old, having been formed 
prior to Confederation. The very first lodge in Canada West was formed 
in Goderich a decade before lodge delegates met in Hamilton, October 
10th, 1855, resulting in the formation of the Grand Lodge of Canada. 

To effect this summary, historical research was gathered from the 15 
lodges of South Huron District. In addition, to bring flavour and realism 
to the factual information, vignettes have been added to the presentation. 

Do not follow where the path may lead. 

Go, instead, where there is no path. And leave a trail.— Anonymous 

The foundations for our cathedrals have indeed been well built, 

whether they are those log shanties to protect the early settlers from 

nature's wrath or whether they are the roots laid down by our Masonic 


The settlers liad their basic needs of shelter, schooling, land cleared 
to grow food, churches for worship, but they longed for another 
dimension to their lives. There was a desire to communicate with their 
fellow man on another level - on a level that would bridge the gap in the 
ancestral roots of the immigrants, a level that would bring men together, 



away from the competition of industry and politics, a level of equality and 
a level of support for each other in times of need. 

In recognition of those needs, seven Masons applied for dispensation 
and received a warrant to start Morning Star Lodge on January 3 1, 1874 
at Smith's Hill, now known as Carlow. 

The first meeting was held in the rear of Brother Scott's General 
Store with John Varcoe as Worshipful Master. It was not the first lodge 
in the Huron Tract; there were nine others already. 

The settlement of the Huron Tract was accomplished through the 
blood, sweat and tears of men and women who lived in the last century. 
The first settlers and the men of vision - like Dunlop, Gait, and Van 
Egmond - are truly our heroes; heroes who have left a rich legacy upon 
which to build our lives. 

VIGNETTE 1 - Discovery of Time Capsule 
Enter two men in work clothes, shovels, prod 
#1 - It's gotta be here someplace. The minutes say a few paces 

#2 - A few paces could mean anything. You'd expect Masons to be 
more precise. 

#1 - Poke around we'll find it. I think I'm onto something. 
#2 - Ok, let's dig. 

#1 - Found it. Better use your hands now. 
#2 - Careful it may have rotted by now. 
#1 - This is history, open the lid. 
#2 - Look at this date - 1875. Look at all the old papers. 
#1 - Careful that paper is old. 

#2 - Listen to these names; John Gait, Tiger Dunlop, Colonel Van 
Egmond, Champlain, Canada Company, Colborne Township. 
Morning Star Lodge No. 309, 1874. 

It is very easy to allow our heritage to slip through our fingers. In 
only a couple of generations we can lose sight of founding traditions. To 
lose touch with the past is unacceptable because we can be left with 
insecurities and a restlessness that can diminish the quality of life which 
otherwise would be rich and full of meaning. Not only does an awareness 
of our heritage give us a deep sense of pride, but it tells us where we have 
been and can help us to see where we are going. Hence, the names, 
Dunlop, Gait, Van Egmond, The Canada Company, The Huron Tract, 
Queen's Bush, and Freemasonry are forever entwined. 

These forefathers were colourful men. They were legendary gallant 
men with vision. The main triumvirate were all Scotsmen, standing over 
six feet tall. 



There was John Gait, a novelist, visionary and founder of The 
Canada Company. Next, there was the man we claim as our own in the 
person of Dr. Wm. Dunlop, affectionately known as the Tiger. He was a 
hard-drinking, good-humoured engineer, as well as a master wilderness 
developer. His monument overlooks the mouth of the Maitland River, 
named Minnesetung by the Natives. His friend, John MacDonald, was 
the surveyor. Later, this group was joined by Colonel Anthony Van 
Egmond, a rich and respected road builder from Pennsylvania. 


John Gait with Book and Quill: I'm John Gait, I've enjoyed my fame 
as a poet I could become famous like my friends, Bums and 
Dickens, but I like money too much. The Canada Land Co. seems 
like a better way to make money. 

Tiger Dunlop with bottle of rum: I'm William. Dunlop - better known 
as Tiger. Rum is my favourite tool of negotiation. They don't call 
me Tiger for nothing. 

Colonel Van Egmond with compass: Tm Colonel Van Egmond. I 
fought against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and survived. 
Shouldn't be hard to engineer a road to Lake Huron with nobody 
shooting at me. 

The most colourful by far, however, was the youthful Dunlop, 
tramping through the bush in the summer of 1827, criss-crossing his own 
exploration trails, keeping his journal, and directing his wide-range 
surveying party. A big, red-haired, bewhiskered man, whose lifestyle 
increasingly attracted some wild legends based loosely on his exploits, 
Dunlop was still in his mid-3 O's when he came to work for The Canada 

The Canada Company was formed in 1824 by John Gait who 
persuaded a group of capitalists in London, England to invest in land in 
Canada. He and four other men arrived in Toronto in 1825 and began 
negotiations to purchase both Crown and Clergy land. They proposed 
that the Canada Co. be sold 1,000,000 acres from the block of 2,800,000 
acres the government had recently purchased from the Chippewa Indians. 
The area offered to The Canada Company was bordered on the west by 
Lake Huron, on the north by a line running at a 45-degree angle along 
the top of what are now the Townships of Colborne, Hullett, and 
McKillop, through the village of Wellesley, south about 15 miles, and 
then southwest toward the lake at a 45-degree angle, ending just south of 
the Indian Reserve at Kettle Point. All of this was unsurveyed wilderness 
land on what eventually became Huron County, Perth County, and parts 
of Lambton and Middlesex Counties. 



The agreement between The Canada Company and the British 
Government contained the following provisions: 

His Majesty's Government will grant and convey to the Canada 
Company. . . a block of land containing one million acres in the 
territory lately purchased from the Indians in the London and 
Western Districts One third part of the price of £146,150 5s 
shall be expended by the Canada Company in public works and 
improvement s within the said block of land; and the remaining 
two thirds parts only of the said sum of £145, 150 5s currency 
shall be actually paid to His Majesty's Government. By the 
terms public works and improvement will be understood 
canals, bridges, high roads, churches, wharves, school houses, 
and other works undertaken for the benefit of His Majesty's 
subjects resident within distinction to works intended for the use 
and accommodation of private persons. 

The only precursors to roads were those trails used by the Indians, 
as they traversed through the virgin forest from one camping ground to 
another on their hunting and fishing expeditions between Saugeen and 
Lake Erie. By the time the first settlers arrived, the Indians had departed 
to parts unknown. 

By 1828, John Gait, the Company's principal agent, was able to 
report that a sleigh track was open from Wilmot to Goderich and that 
taverns were being erected along the way. A short time later, this track 
would become known as the Huron Road between Stratford and 

This work had been supervised by Dr. Tiger Dunlop and the 
contractor was Colonel Van Egmond, who had established himself near 
Seaforth; the current village of Egmondville, a suburb of Seaforth, 
perpetuates the name of this interesting character. Van Egmond acquired 
very large acreage since the Company paid for his work in land. The 
building of this road was a top priority to fulfill Gait's unique idea for 
settlement. He believed that if a proper road could be built to connect the 
towns, the immigrants would take up land on either side of the road, thus 
developing the territory much faster and more efficiently than the usual 
methods which were first to entice settlers, then, when the communities 
were formed, build roads to link those communities. 

Gait sent Dunlop to survey the block of land and to select a site for 
a city, the first of two, in the wilderness. In May 1826, the two men, Gait 
and Dunlop, and their surveyors met in the rain, and, in the light of their 
torches, cut the huge maple which symbolized the founding of the city of 
Guelph. A week later, Dunlop set off to make a survey of the whole 



Huron Tract and complete a report on its soils, flora and fauna. 

We read that the forest was so thick that the sun could scarcely ever 
be seen. The hardwood trees often reached 50 feet before they branched 
out and above them reached the pines. Dead and rotting timber lay 
everywhere, huge boulders were in abundance, and swamps were 
impossible. The damp darkness of the forest was alive with mosquitoes 
and black flies. 

In spite of this forbidding terrain, Dunlop and his companions 
worked through the Tract during the next three months and came out 
with a surprisingly accurate account of the land and its possibilities, 
culminating in the founding of Goderich. 

VIGNETTE 3 - Location - Guelph 
Dunlop and Gait - mime coming down a big maple tree. 

Gait (bottle): Let's drink a toast to . . . the Huron Road. This 

tree stump will be the centre of Guelph. Roads will branch 

off in all directions like spokes in a wheel. 

Dunlop (facing west): And 100 miles in that direction, at 

Lake Huron, I'll build a town on the same plan of a wheel. 

How does the name Goderich sound? 

In 1828, Tiger Dunlop had built a cabin at the mouth of the 
Minnesetung River (Maitland) overlooking Lake Huron, and by 1846, 
Goderich was a thriving village of about 1,200 people with shops, a grist 
mill, an iron foundry, a carding mill, as well as churches and schools. 
The men laid out roads and marked concession lines. They hunted and 
fished for most of their food and slept under lean-to shelters. 

Two surveyors led the procession with compasses. They were 
followed by a band of blazers to mark trees to be cut, then, the woodsmen 
to fell the trees, and finally, the wagons came with provisions. Ahead of 
the road builders was the house crew whose duty it was to build a lean-to 
shack to house the men at night. This crew carried the stove from site to 
site; the only comfort for the workmen was to sleep on the floor with 
their feet toward the heat from this portable stove. 

VIGNETTE 4 - Enter Woodsman 

Those three dreamers think they are going to build a road 
across one million acres of wilderness. It's nothing but 
swamp, rocks, bush and flies. What a joke! Far too much 
rum I'd say. 

With the completion of the Huron Road, the first settlers began to 
arrive just as Gait had anticipated from as far away as Detroit. Even after 
the Huron and London roads were in use, the population of Huron 
County was still only 835 in 1837 at the time of the Rebellion. 



Elsewhere in the district, there existed a few small settlements. 
Clinton consisted only of a tavern at the junction of the London and 
Stratford roads; Van Egmond had built an inn at Egmondville and the 
beginnings of the village of Seaforth could be seen. Only a small clearing 
with a couple of shanties located where the London road crossed the 
Ausable River marked the site of what was to become Exeter. Prior to 
1833, the London to Goderich road was barely a trail. 

Indeed, die first saw mill was built in that area on the river in 1833, 
and in 1834, the first grist mill appeared. By the mid-1850's, the nuclei 
of two villages were emerging: Francistown, which was the area around 
the London and Lake Roads, intersecting south of the river, and Exeter, 
which was forming around the Huron Street and London Road 
crossroads, north of the river. As the growth occurred in both Exeter and 
Francistown, the two villages tended to grow together and were, of 
course, amalgamated in 1873 to form the incorporated municipality 
called Exeter. 

In homes in the early 1850's the talk turned to the needs for 
improved communication and transportation. Railway fever was in the 
air throughout the Huron Tract. There was alarm at the waning of 
Goderich as a centre of importance, while Stratford and Guelph were 
progressing. A railway terminating at the lake may be the answer. 


Narrator: Railway fever was in the air throughout the Huron Tract 
. . . but not everyone welcomed the railroad. 

Enter protester: Stop trains; I'll have nothing to do with trains! If 
God intended his children to move that fast, he would, in his 
wisdom, have equipped us with an engine and a smoke stack, 
black as coal, rather than a heart and soul. 

The two rail companies building toward Stratford were the Grand 
Trunk Railway and the Buffalo, Brantford and Goderich Line. The Grand 
Trunk was approaching from the east while the BB&G was coming up 
from the southeast through Gait and eventually to Goderich. 
Unfortunately, from its infancy the BB&G was beset with financial 
problems and in the course of refinancing was also given a new name - 
The Buffalo and Lake Huron Co. 

In October 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway rolled the first train into 
Stratford. Two months later, the rival Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway 
came rolling into Stratford. 

Stratford remained for a time the end of steel. Those going on into 
the northern townships and without stage coach connections could hire 
freighters, wagons drawn by teams of men or horses to transport them 



less comfortably by road. Most roads were bad, the side roads impossible. 

Railways had their own problems, though the Grand Trunk did 
survive. Engines would wallow in snow up to their smokestacks, 
sometimes being stopped altogether. If a locomotive ran out of wood, the 
conductor would break out a supply of axes, which he would give to the 
male passengers, with orders to get out and start cutting trees. 

The former BB&G which became the Great Western was perhaps the 
most important of all the railways within these limits. In proportion to its 
length and cost of construction, the London, Huron and Bruce Railway 
was the best paying piece of railroad property in the Dominion of 

Blazed trail! Corduroy Road! Railroad! Before these came, it was a 
huge acreage of untrodden and un-hewn forest. As settlers arrived, 
hamlets sprang up like mushrooms in the 1830's, 1840's and 50's. Those 
along the Huron Road from Stratford to Goderich included Mitchell, 
Seaforth, and Clinton. Those along the London Road included Lucan, 
Exeter, and Hensall. 

And so, there came a time when a void in the spirit of men needed 
to be filled. Men had succeeded at taming the wilderness. Basic human 
needs of survival were being met, perhaps beyond the dreams of Gait, 
Dunlop, and Van Egmond. 

Yes, our foundations had been well laid. Most of the lodges of South 
Huron District have already celebrated a century and more of service to 
their communities. The oldest lodge received its dispensation to operate 
almost a decade prior to the formation of the Grand Lodge of Canada in 
1855 and almost two decades before the formation of the Dominion of 
Canada in 1867. 

VIGNETTE 6 - 1867 - Sir John A. MacDonald 

Narrator: Almost two decades before the formation of the 
Dominion of Canada in 1867 with these immortal words 
from Sir John A. MacDonald: 

A British subject I was born, a British Subject I will die. Let us be 
English or let us be French, but above all let us be Canadians. 


The first Masonic lodge was formed in Goderich in 1845 and was 
known as Union Lodge, No. 720 of the Grand Lodge of England. The 
second Masonic lodge in Goderich was chartered by the Grand Lodge of 
Canada as No. 112 and was named Maitland Lodge. These two lodges 
amalgamated in 1871 under the name of Maitland Lodge No.33, a 



number reserved for it down through the years. Union Lodge then 
surrendered its charter at this time. 

The amalgamated lodge met in the location rented by the original 
Maitland Lodge which was on the second floor of a building situated on 
the south side of East St., the site which is now used by the Bank of 
Montreal as a parking area. From this date to early in the 1900's, it 
retained the same meeting place until it moved to space on the third floor 
of the Saunder's building on the north side of West Street, directly across 
from the present location. 

During the early part of this century, the lodge had a large increase 
in membership. Many new members were business persons, merchants, 
and owners of manufacturing firms. Their concept of the future location 
for Maitland Lodge was a building of three storeys, of which two of the 
storeys would contain space which could be rented and provide an 
income to pay for the cost of construction and the maintenance of the 
building. One of the original tenants was a stockbroker until the crash of 
October 24, 1929. 


Narrator "Until Black Thursday the crash of Oct. 24, 1929. 
The Lodge not only lost the broker as a tenant on the first 
floor, but the crash left brethren and families destitute and 
hence letters were sent to Prime Minister Bennett. 

Goderich, Ontario,March 25,1935. 
Dear Mr. Bennett: 

I am writing you these few lines to let you know the kind of hardships 
I am in and I am wondering if you would help me out. 

I have had no work for the last three and a half years, although I have 

a good education. I have a pair of shoes, well you cannot call them shoes 

for they are just about done, one suit of clothes which I have on my back 

and only one shirt and I have tried to get a job everywhere but could not, 

I even tried going on the road like the transients, but I found out that 

wouldn't do, so I am writing you these few lines as a plea for help, a 

donation of any kind, and I would also be obliged if you would try and get 

or find me a job. I have three years high school education and I am 

twenty-three years, old enough to vote. I remain, 

Yours truly, Mr. Charles Robson 
P.S. I had to borrow this writing paper and envelope and will have to borrow stamp to 

mail it to you . 

The Prime Minister replied and included two dollars. 

Many brethren fell into arrears on their dues. Many men who would 

have been good Masons - could not afford to join. 

Construction of the building began in 1912. This was a three-storey, 
solid brick building with a stone foundation. The lodge room and an 



assembly hall were situated on the third floor, more recently accessed by 
an elevator. 

During the Second World War, the assembly hall was used for bi- 
weekly dances, which were well patronized by the members of the armed 
services stationed in this area. 

The first level has been used for commercial office space since the 
early days of the building's existence. Among the early tenants was the 
Goderich Star. 

The Menesetung Canoe Club lias been the constant tenant of the east 
side of the second floor since the building opened. The remainder of the 
area is occupied by the custodian's apartment and office space. Also, the 
Huron Chapter of Royal Arch Masons No. 30 has held its regular 
Convocations in the lodge room since the building was first occupied. 
Many outstanding citizens have passed through the portals of this lodge. 


The brethren of the Town of St. Marys applied for a warrant, and 
accordingly, the proceedings of Grand Lodge for the year 1857 listed St. 
James as under dispensation. This indicated that the application was the 
first to be received in the District that is now South Huron. 

The present warrant was issued in 1858 and the officers were 
properly installed by the D.D.G.M. in that year on October 26th. In 1859, 
a large number of lodges, which, up to that date, had not accepted the 
Grand Lodge of Canada, elected to come under its jurisdiction. As it was 
then necessary to reconsider the numbering, St. James was given the 
number 73. 

St. James Lodge, at that time, was in the District of London; 
however, in 1859, Huron District was formed with Amelius Irving as 
D.D.G.M., and St. James was placed in this jurisdiction. The story of the 
formation of St. James Lodge is a complicated one as there were three 
separate lodges in St. Marys at one time. St. Marys Lodge No. 351 and 
St. Marys Lodge No. 493 eventually amalgamated with St. James No. 73. 
On November 6, 1882, the amalgamation of St. James No.73 and St. 
Marys 351 took effect. Later, another lodge was formed with the name St. 
Marys bearing the number 493. There was harmony between these two 
lodges and they held joint inspections by the D.D.G.M.'s for years. This 
St. Marys Lodge was instituted on April 24, 1909, and warranted on July 
20, 1910. 

The question of the amalgamation of St. Marys Lodge 493 and St. 
James 73 did arise in 1918, but did not take effect until September, 1934 



when the St. Marys Warrant and membership was transferred to St. 
James 73. This delay could have been due to a significant drop in 
membership because of an outbreak of influenza which showed no 
respect for station or age. 

VIGNETTE 8 - Flu Epidemic of 1918 
Enter Minister and four pallbearers carrying adult coffin and 
small white one on top. Minister reads from service book: 
We commit these bodies to the ground earth to earth, 
ashes to ashes, dust to dust. May God bless them , may 
God's face shine on them and be gracious unto them. May 
God look on them with kindness and give him peace. 

Narrator The flu epidemic of 1918 had no respect for age 
or station - so mote it be. 
Early references to premises are somewhat sketchy, however, it is 

clear that in 1868 the lodge moved to the New Hutton Block on Water 

Street, the rent being $35 per year. 

By the end of 1870 reference is made in the minutes to the 
dedication of new rooms. This would be the present lodge room on the 
third floor. The rental was fifty dollars per year plus taxes which then 
amounted to about seven dollars. 

In 1953, a complete renovation took place and on October 19th of the 
same year, the rooms were re-dedicated by the District Chaplain. This 
lodge maintains a vivid reminder of the past as the Three Lesser Lights, 
being candles, are lit and extinguished as lodge is opened and closed. 


Masonry in Clinton owes its origin to a few enthusiasts who secured 
their Warrant from Grand Lodge in August of 1857. When the lodges 
were re-numbered in 1858-1859, Clinton Lodge was designated No. 84. 

As was customary for the times, a room was leased in Bro. 
Rattenbury's tavern at $75 per annum. It was then sublet to Bro. Kerr at 
$35. This lodge was consecrated and dedicated on the 7 th of September, 
1857, by R.W. Bro. Wilson, D.D.G.M., and during the first year there 
were 21 members initiated. 

In those early days suitable lodge rooms were difficult to obtain and 
the home of Clinton Masons frequently changed. In March of 1907, the 
lodge moved to the corner of Highways #4 and #8 above the Royal Bank 
of Canada building. It was furnished and fitted at a cost of nearly $800. 

The ceremony of dedicating the lodge room in the Royal Bank of 



Canada building was performed on the 6 th day of May, 1914. 
Dispensation to wear gold braid was granted by Grand Lodge after 
September 8 th , 1957 The last meeting held in Clinton was on December 
6 th , 1988 In January, 1989, a meeting was held in Seaforth. Since then 
this lodge has held its meetings in the Goderich Lodge rooms. 

The lodge has passed through periods of financial stress and of 
opulence concurrent with periods of economic depression and prosperity. 
In the Depression period there is a record of money owing to Grand 
Lodge, of the treasurer signing notes for credit loans by the bank and of 
members in arrears of lodge dues totalling substantial amounts. In 1867 
there was a vote of censure passed on the Senior Warden due to absence 
from office, and a motion was made that in future all officers absenting 
themselves without good reason would be fined 20 cents, and members 
absenting themselves would be fined l2Vi cents per meeting. There is no 
record, however, of the penalty having been collected. 

Clinton Lodge experienced a boost in membership and general 
interest in 1941 with the establishment of the R.A.F. Radio School 
adjacent to the town. This engendered a fine spirit of fraternal fellowsliip 
between the school and the lodge. When the school was later taken over 
and greatly expanded by the R.C.A.F., numerous applications for 
membership were received. An R.C.A.F. degree team was also formed. 
In addition to their interest in the work, material interest was also shown. 
A chaplain's chair, matching in design to those of the other officers' 
chairs, was presented by Air Force members, with Squadron Leader G.J. 
Bury making the presentation. Also, a beautiful set of working tools and 
Jacob's ladder in white metal, along with a framed tracing board, were 
presented to the lodge by Flight Sergeant Bro. W. R. Turton, a skilled 
craftsman in metal work, and in Masonic craft. 

VIGNETTE 9 - R.C.A.F. Degree Team 
By the left, quick march, square the lodge brethren. 
Worshipful Sir, we are the R.C.A.F. degree team. 
Frank Garrett, Chesley Ont, W.M. 
Walter Smith, Winnipeg Man., S. W. 
George Johnston, Gander N fid., J.D. 
Robert Jones, Halifax N.S., Inner Guard 
Brethren assume your chairs (exit) 


The history of Masonry in Exeter parallels the history of the town 
itself. In the little hamlet of Francistown, Masonry had its birth. As 
buildings became more substantial and pretentious, so Masonry advanced 



from one lodge room to another, adding to its furnishings, its regalia and 
its appearance. Passing through the stages of meeting in a tavern room 
with only a few chairs and candles for light, to various halls with make- 
shift furniture and coal oil lamps, the present rooms are furnished 
entirely on Masonic plans with Masonic furniture, fine regalia and 
properly placed electric lights. Interestingly enough, the current Masonic 
Hall is just across the corner from the location of the first lodge rooms. 

Under dispensation from The Grand Lodge of Canada in the 
Province of Ontario, the first meeting of Lebanon Forest Lodge No. 133 
was held at Madill's Tavern, in the village of Francistown. The charter 
was received on September 26th of the same year. 

The Charter Members, who were also the first officers, had been 
previously installed at Clinton by R. W.Bro. Amaelius Irvine, District 
Deputy Grand Master. Rental of the room was one dollar per month, 
including candles. Candles remained in use until May 8, 1865 when 
lamps were installed in the tavern which they occupied for eight years. 

Between 1860 and 1915 Lebanon Forest Lodge moved several times, 
trying to find proper accommodations, and, in doing so, moved from 
Francistown to Exeter and back, sometimes without the permission of 
Grand Lodge. One of the early District Deputy Grand Masters reported 
to Grand Lodge that he had not visited Lebanon Forest Lodge because he 
was not sure where the lodge was located. 

In the first 20 months of existence of the lodge, 37 meetings were 
held and the membership increased from eight to 23. Membership in 
1865 was 42, in 1875 it was 76, and in 1910 the membership reached 
100. The lodge continued to grow for several years. 

The Brethren received hand-written notices for the first three years. 
The London Free Press printed blank forms that the secretary used until 
1900 when the first fully printed notices were used. 

With a desire to have the work of the degrees accurate, in October of 
1864, the lodge sent Michael Eacrett to Stratford at a cost of $40, where 
he stayed for some time to perfect himself in the work. Bro. Eacrett 
walked to Stratford and back. 

On January 13, 1862, this recommended the formation of a lodge at 
Lucan. One year later, the Lucan brethren were invited to have New 
Year's dinner with the members of Lebanon Forest. Furthermore, on 
April 26, 1869, the lodge gave consent to the formation of Zurich Lodge 
at Zurich. 

Through the years, social activities have been many and varied, from 
calling off lodge to enjoy a quiet drink or a smoke, to visiting other 



lodges, as well as enjoying banquets, picnics and excursions. For the first 
20 years, we find few meetings complete without an adjournment for a 
few minutes. One can only guess as to the purpose of the adjournment. 
Degree work was plentiful, the evenings were long, talking was dry work, 
and liquids were cheap. 

Masons in the Exeter area have left their legacy in the community. 
The third master of the lodge was the first Reeve of Exeter, the fifth 
Master was the first clerk, and the seventh Master became first Master of 
Zurich Lodge. Others have served in the positions of Warden and Judge 
of the County of Huron. 


The first meeting of Tudor Lodge was held in the Commercial Hotel, 
on Tuesday, December 4, 1860. The dispensation from the Grand Lodge 
of Canada was issued in August, 1881 and the Warrant was received the 
following year. 

In 1863, the lodge rooms were moved to the Fishleigh building 
which stood on the southeast corner of Main St. and Andrew St. where 
the War Memorial now stands. The lower part of the building was 
occupied by a General Store, which permitted an income. Later, when 
Thomas Matheson was building his hotel, he incorporated lodge rooms 
in the plans for his building, as he was a member of the fraternity. The 
lodge met on these premises for many years. 

Like other lodges, many moves were made, but, in 1942, the concept 
of buying the Stineman building and remodeling it was proposed an 
accepted. These quarters were dedicated in October of 1942 by M. W. 
Bro J. A. McRae, Grand Master. Many improvements and gifts have been 
made over the decades for the comfort of the Brethren, while at the same 
time, adhering to municipal building regulations. Membership in tins 
lodge varied over the decades with a steady increase until 1874; other 
increases were experienced after both Great Wars. 

An interesting quotation from the minutes regarding the Tyler's 
duties appears as follows: 

Duties in winter months - have fire burning at five o'clock p.m., 
and, when no fires are required, have hall open at 6:30 o'clock, 
and keep the rooms and stairs in a clean order. 

Mention is made of at least one excursion to Goderich by the 
Brethren in company with those from Seaforth and Clinton. The trip was 
made via the Grand Trunk Railway in 1876 and was financed by lodge 



VIGNETTE 10 -Wedding 

Narrator reads letter to G.L. (Sec) 

Tudor Lodge No. 141, Nov. 13, 1997. Dear M.W.Bro. R. 
E. Davies ; This lodge hereby requests a dispensation for 
our lodge rooms to be made available on Feb. 28, 1998 at 
4:30 p.m. for the purpose of... 

Enter minister reading from marriage service, followed by bride and groom 
(continue walking) 

Dearly beloved we are gathered here in the sight of god 
before these witnesses to join in marriage (Bro.) Dale 
Turton and Ms. Dawn Lawrence. If anyone can show just 
cause why they should not be joined in marriage, let him 
speak now or forever hold his peace. (Exit) 
Secretary reads aloud: Nov. 18 1997, W.Bro. Norhs Secretary, 
Tudor Lodge No. 141. Dear Bro. Secretary; Dispensation to hold 
a wedding in the Lodge Rooms of Tudor Lodge No. 141 is 
hereby granted providing that the altar and tracing board of the 
third degree are removed prior to the function. Please remit 
dispensation fee of $3.00. Fraternally, R.E. Davies, Grand 


The first Masonic lodge to be instituted in Stratford was Wellington 
Lodge. It was formed in 1855, under a warrant from the Grand Lodge of 
Ireland, and, after a few short years, surrendered its charter, leaving no 
record of the reason for its termination. Shortly thereafter, Tecumseh 
Lodge was formed, and, on January 24th, 1861, the first meeting was 
held in rented quarters above the British North American Bank, with an 
attendance of seven members and one visitor. The Charter, or Warrant, 
was issued on July 20th, 1861. Tradition informs us that the name 
Tecumseh was in all probability chosen in honour of the great Indian 
Chief of that name, who was a member of the Craft. 

Like other lodges, they were on the move in 1864, 1865, and again 
in 1910 due to an increasing membership. A growing membership made 
it again necessary to seek larger quarters, culminating in the building of 
the present Masonic Temple on Church Street, across from the Court 
House. This was undertaken by Tecumseh and Stratford Lodges, assisted 
by Tecumseh Chapter, St. Elmo Preceptory, and the Stratford Shrine 
Club. It was completed in December, 1930, free of any incumbrance, and 
was dedicated on March 6th, 193 1, by Most Worshipful Brother Roderick 
B. Dargavel, Grand Master. 

Some members liave made significant achievements in Masonry. In 
1888, W.Bro. John Rennie, was elected to the office of Grand Master of 



another jurisdiction. T. E. Harding, an affiliated member of Tecumseh 
Lodge, was elected to the office of Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of 
this jurisdiction in 1919. One of the highlights in the history of this lodge 
was the election of one of its own members to the office of the Most 
Worshipful, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the 
Province of Ontario, Brother Frank A. Copus, who discharged the duties 
of that high and important office with dignity and devotion. 

VIGNETTE 11 - Future Grand Master's Initiation 
Narrator: One of the highlights of Tecumseh Lodge 
occurred on April 19, 1907 when a young man age 28, 
appeared in Tecumseh lodge in the standard attire for his 


(P.M. places candidate at altar, puts his hands in place on a bible 

brought into lodge) 

Say I and repeat your several names. 

I, Frank Copus, in the presence, etc. 

The obligation proceeded to its logical conclusion. Unknown to 

the brethren present was the fact that they had just obligated a 

future Grand Master. 

This highlight came to fruition when this brother, Frank 

Copus, was elected to the office of M. W. Bro. Grand 

Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada in 1933. 

A brief history such as this cannot mention the names of all members 
who, in their own rank of life, were outstanding in their services to the 
progress of Masonry in Stratford, but, through the years, Tecumseh 
Lodge has always had, in its membership, men who have taken a 
prominent part in the life of Stratford and the Masonic community. 


Irving Lodge, No. 154, opened under the dispensation from the 
Grand Lodge of Canada on Thursday, February 13, 1862, five years 
before Confederation, and sixteen years before the incorporation of the 
village of Lucan. It was named after Amelius Irving, District Deputy 
Grand Master for the district in that year, and a Crown Attorney in the 
courts of Canada West. 

As you may well guess, the first meetings were held in the Sable Hill 
Hotel which is believed to have stood in the vicinity of St. James Church, 
Clandeboye, and then, in the Huron Hotel, which is believed to have 
stood in the vicinity of the Wilberforce Cemetery. In 1863, the meetings 
were moved to the Royal Hotel on Main Street. Is it surprising that 
meeting venues changed two or three times before finding a permanent 



The building at the present location at 183 Main Street was 
purchased in 1929. In the mid-1960's, the banquet room on the ground 
floor and the basement were refurbished with the aid of a New Horizons 
grant to provide accommodation for the Lucan Senior Citizens. When the 
Seniors moved to other accommodations, the rooms were occupied 
respectively by the Lucan Branch of the Middlesex County Library and 
by the Lucan Optimist Club. 

Each year, on the occasion of the D.D.G.M.'s official visit, the 
Brethren of Irving Lodge present a meaningful service in memory of 
their departed Brethren and fallen heroes. 


Narrator: "The highlight of Irving Lodge is the annual Remembrance Day 
service held at the regular Thursday meeting closest to November 11. 
Enter Telegraph Boy; Knocks on door - hands over telegraph 
Are you Charles Zurbrigg? 
Are you the father of Frank Zubrigg? 
I have a telegram for you 
Dear Mr & Mrs. Zurbrigg: 

The Government of Canada regrets to inform you that your son, 
Franklin Charles Zurbrigg, Flight Sergent Navigator in the 
R.C.A.F. was killed while on duty June 3, 1943. May God be with 
you and grant you Peace. 

Narrator: The memory of fallen brethren is honoured in a very 
moving ceremony. The tragic circumstances of his death make 
this memorial service even more signifigant. Frank Zurbrigg had 
successfully completed a tour of bombing missions over 
Germany and was killed in an exercise on base when he was 
training new enlistees. 
We must never forget the futility of war. 


Development of a business and residential area in Seaforth was slow, 
occasioned by the fact that Harpurhey on the west, and Egmondville to 
the south were the established business and commercial areas. It was not 
until the coming of the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway, and the 
discovery of salt within the town limits, that Seaforth was assured a place 
in the expanding community. 

Parallelling the growth of commerce and industry in Seaforth was 
the inception and growth of Masonry. Even though Seaforth had only 
village status, (it was not incorporated as a village until the year of 
confederation, 1867, and as a town in 1875), their charter, granted July 
13, was signed by the Grand Steward, Thomas Q. Harris, and Alexander 



Allan Stevenson, Deputy Grand Master, of the City of Kingston. 

Progress placed demands upon the lodge to find new quarters. In 
1874 the present lodge rooms were leased for twenty years at a rental fee 
of one hundred dollars a year. Four years later, electric lights were 
installed in the lodge room. 

The first Great War put demands on the brethren of Britannia Lodge. 
Many volunteered for service in the Armed Forces. All brethren serving 
King and Country were relieved from payment of dues for the duration. 
World War II laid even greater demands on the membership of Britannia 

Enter Air Force Officer - reads obituary - candle in hand 
Frank Albert Casson of Seaforth enlisted In the Air Force 
In 1941. He was shot down over Ceylon and taken 
prisoner. Frank died of malnutrition and malaria in a 
Japenese P.O.W. camp just 6 HOURS before it was 
liberated on VJ Day. He is buried in grave No. 147-b Row 
1 Aberdeen Cemetery. Bro. Frank Casson was age 22. 
(Blows out Candle) - Exits. 

Narrator: The Brethren of Brittannia Lodge cherish the memory 
of Frank Casson, a brother who did not live long enough to get 
his Master Mason degree. 

It was in 1950 that Britannia Lodge took steps to acquire possession 
of the building in which the lodge rooms are situated. In the ensuing 
years, rehabilitation and modernization of the lodge rooms has occurred. 
A gas furnace now supplies the heat in place of old wood and oil stoves, 
a banquet room allows for social activities, and there is space available 
as a source of income. 

Further upgrading took place in 1938 with the 125th anniversary 
approaching. Arrangements were made and permission granted for The 
Order of the Eastern Star to use the lodge room and facilities, and in 
turn, they tend to the housekeeping. 


On December 13, 1869 a petition was signed and presented to the 
Grand Lodge of Canada, asking for a Warrant of Constitution 
empowering them to form themselves into a regular lodge, to be held in 
the Village of Zurich, in the county of Huron. Recall that this lodge was 
sponsored by Lebanon Forest Lodge, No. 133 in Exeter. 

The request was granted by the Most Worshipful Alexander Allan 
Stevenson of Montreal, Grand Master. A dispensation was issued giving 



them sufficient authority to initiate, pass and raise candidates, and the 
first meeting was held in the Victoria Hotel. The Charter from Grand 
Lodge was granted on July 14, 1870. 

Grand Lodge dues in 1870 were twenty-five cents per member, one 
dollar for registering initiations, and two dollars for a Grand Lodge 

On July 7, 1882, the lodge was transferred from Zurich to Hensall, 
where it was located in a small building on the corner of King and Brock 
Streets. It subsequently moved two or three times before acquiring their 
present premises on King Street. 

On January 22, 1923, this lodge room was officially dedicated by 
Right Worshipful Bro. Charles E. Richardson, D.D.G.M. from St. Marys. 

The lodge was honoured in 1892 by a visit from the Most Worshipful 
The Grand Master, John Ross Robertson of Toronto, and in 1935, the 
name was changed from Zurich to Huron Lodge No. 224. At a regular 
meeting held on April 3, 1944, a unique event occurred when W.Bro. 
Robert D. Bell initiated his son, Glen. This was the first time in the 
history of the lodge that a father had conferred a degree on his son. 

Again, on April 23, 1962, W.Bro. Duncan R. Cooper initiated his 
son, Jolin Douglas Cooper. At an emergent meeting in March, 1955, W. 
Bro. Doug Cooper initiated his sons, Stephen and Brian, making them 
the fourth generation of Coopers to join Huron Lodge. In 1997, W. Bro. 
Douglas Cooper was appointed as Grand Steward. 


Doric Lodge No. 233, Parkhill was granted a charter on July 14, 
1870. William Dawson was the first Worshipful Master. Initiation and 
affiliation fees were five and two dollars respectively. The first lodge hall 
burned in 1872. Following that, they occupied three different buildings 
before purchasing the old Canadian Bank of Commerce Building on 
Main Street. 

Wm. Mercer Wilson, Grand Master of Ontario, visited Parkhill on 
August 20, 1872, and laid the cornerstone at the St. James Anglican 

In the early years, Masonry appeared to be very strong, as records 
show several degrees being conferred at each meeting. During tins time, 
lodge was held twelve months of the year. In 1890, a motion was made 
to call off lodge for the months of July and August. Doric Lodge at one 
time had a membership of 158. 



Membership has declined over the years with a present membership 
of 79. Following the sale of the Lodge Hall in Parkhill in 1986, meetings 
are now held in the Ailsa Craig Masonic Temple. Both of these lodges 
presented strong arguments to remain in South Huron District when the 
issue of lodge restructuring was addressed in the early 1990's. 


On the evening of April 13, 1875 a meeting was held in the office of 
Mr. R. Rutherford in the Oddfellows Block to organize a new Masonic 

The first recorded meeting of Stratford Lodge was held on the 
evening of June 15, 1875, one month prior to receiving its charter. Early 
meetings were held above Rankin's confectionary store on Ontario Street. 

The first written By-Laws of the lodge were adopted on January 10, 
1876, and approved and confirmed August 26, 1876 by M.W.Bro. J. K. 
Kerr, the Grand Master. The Initiation fee was set at $30 for the Degrees 
and Apron, five dollars for a certificate, and the annual dues of three 
dollars were to be paid quarterly. 

Some years later the lodge moved from Ontario Street to Albert 
Street, occupying the third floor of the Merchants Bank, later known as 
the British Mortgage and Trust Company. These lodge rooms were 
dedicated on December 27, 1910 by M.W.Bro. D. F. McWatt, Grand 
Master. Like other lodges, Tecumseh and Stratford decided to combine 
resources and new premises were acquired. A building was erected at 15 
Church Street in 1938. 

Over the years, the lodge has been enriched by groups traditionally 
attached to Masonry: for example, employees of the Railroad ( 16% of the 
Masters were employees of the C.N.R.) Hydro, Bell Telephone, O.P.P., 
Kroehler Mfg. 


On July 4, 1902, the first meeting of the Masonic lodge was held 
under Dispensation. The first meetings under Charter took place on 
August 6, 1903, followed by the lodge dedication on October 16, 1903. 

Lodge meetings were first held above a store on Main Street, then 
above a hardware store, until it was decided to purchase the present 
building in 1949. The first meeting was held here in December of the 
same year. 

The 50th anniversary was celebrated in 1952. The lodge rooms were 



renovated and re decorated in 1974. The 75th anniversary was held on 
October 1, 1977 at the Monkton Community Centre with a banquet and 
dance. The members are now anticipating their one hundredth 
anniversary in 2002. 

The expression, small but mighty, rings true in this lodge. With less 
than forty members, several thousand dollars were raised in the recent 
past to purchase a special wheelchair for a member of the community. 


A meeting was held 9 th day of March, 1906, in Milverton, for the 
purpose of organizing a Masonic lodge. R.W.Bro. Dickson, D.D.G.M. of 
District No. 4, was present with a dispensation on behalf of the Grand 
Master. Following the introductory prayer, the officers-elect were 
introduced and given a charge by the D.D.G.M., after which they were 
placed in their respective chairs. 

Ten days later, at an emergent meeting, seven applications for 
membership were read and received; the average age was 33 years. 
Again, in April, at another emergent meeting, six candidates were 
initiated. We read that the lodge closed in harmony at 12:25 a.m. Indeed, 
the minutes show several very late evenings in the early years of the 
lodge. There were 15 candidates during the first year. 

A motion was made in June of 1906 to the effect that additions were 
required to the lodge furnishings: a sideboard and a half dozen spittoons. 
Twenty-five years later, the minutes showed a request from the J. W., in 
preparation for the official visit of the D.D.G.M., that cigars and 
cigarettes be provided along with the customary lunch. 

Correspondence received from Grand Lodge in May 1906, indicated 
a desire to move Milverton Lodge into North Huron District. The lodge 
secretary was instructed to contact the lodges of South Huron, seeking 
support to remain in South Huron. It seems that Morning Star Lodge 
indicated such support. 

Visitation was important to the Milverton Brethren. For many years, 
regular visitations were held with Sunnyside Lodge No. 582 in Toronto, 
and with lodges in Waterloo. In fact, mutual visitations with Waterloo 
have been occurring for more than 50 years; however, more recently, 
these visitations have continued in Elma Lodge, Moncton. 

Although Masonry made its presence known in the Milverton 
community for almost 80 years, a severe decline in membership in the 
latter years brought about its demise. In an effort to maintain its status as 
a lodge, meetings were held in the Moncton Lodge room from 1986 to 



1989. For the same reason, their charter was moved to Stratford until 
1991, after which, unfortunately, the brethren decided to surrender their 
charter and affiliate with nearby lodges. Several affiliated with Elma 
Lodge in Moncton. 

VIGNETTE 14 - Photo Session 
Enter small group of Masons - suits, aprons, attend altar. 
Secretary - takes charter from wall - delivers to W.M. 
Photographer - This is a sad historic occasion. A photo piease. - 
takes pictures 

W.M. - rolls up Charter - passes it to right - salute, - exit - Each 
officer does the same. 

Secretary puts charter in mailing tube. (He is last) Kneels at 
altar, kisses Bible. Rises - return to desk. 

As previously mentioned, the memories of Milverton Lodge live on 
through the annual visitations with the Waterloo Brethren. 


In July, 1907, the Grand Lodge of Canada granted dispensation for 
seven Masons in the village of Granton to form a Masonic Lodge. Six of 
the seven charter members were members of Irving Lodge No. 154, 
Lucan, and the first meeting was held in Sept. 1907. The lodge was 
subsequently consecrated and dedicated. 

The first Lodge Divine Service was held on July 18, 1909 at the 
Presbyterian Church as the Worshipful Master, W. Bro. James Abery, 
was also the minister of this church. 

Another first was the installation of W.Bro. A J. Clatworthy as 
Worshipful Master in 1910, as he was the first candidate to be initiated 
into Granton Lodge. 

Granton Lodge has also met in several locations in the Village of 
Granton. The first meetings took place in the home of W.Bro. W. Dann. 
The members then decided to meet in a room above a furniture store and 
later in their own facilities in the Oddfellows Hall. In 1910, a letter was 
received from the Oddfellows stating that there was to be no smoking or 
eating of lunches in the lodge room. As the lodge minutes showed 
accounts for the payment of cigars, apparently smoking them after lunch 
seemed to be customary for the time. The building was dedicated in 1957 
after much hard work by the members, as well as Masons from other 
lodges who gave their assistance to the project. 

Since its inception in 1908, Granton Lodge, like many other lodges, 
has been fortunate to have had many talented brethren who not only 
contributed to various branches of Masonry, but also to their respective 



communities, serving on local civic committees, township councils, 
county councils, and provincial governments. 


On May 8, 1869, a dispensation was granted for the formation of 
Craig Lodge. Tins dispensation had been recommended by R.W.Bro. 
John E. Brooke, D.D.G.M. of London District and a member of 
Wellington No. 46, Chatham. Like Granton Lodge, the first meeting of 
the lodge was held in the home of Bro. William Mcintosh. 

Although the lodge flourished for a number of years, it was beset 
widi difficulties mainly due to a lack of communication between Grand 
Lodge and its constituent lodges. Recall at the time of institution, the 
lodge was in London District No. 1 which stretched from London to 
Sarnia and south to Lake Erie. However, in 1871, a re-arrangement of 
districts occurred. District No. 1, St. Clair District was formed to consist 
of the Counties of Lambton, Essex and Kent. District No. 2, London 
District, was to consist of the City of London, and the Counties of 
Middlesex and Elgin Even with these changes, it became apparent that 
the D.D.G.M. was not able to give the lodges the attention required with 
the result that some lodges were not visited for four or five years. 
Consequently, lodges lost touch with the activities of Grand Lodge. 

Securing suitable quarters also appeared difficult for the Craig 
Brethren. The lodge met in several rented quarters until May 5, 1885, 
when they acquired quarters over J. H. McKay's store. 

In 1886, Huron District was formed and was divided into two parts, 
North and South Huron. A number of lodges, formerly in London 
District, were transferred to South Huron. Perhaps this was a more 
suitable arrangement as now the D.D.G.M. could travel by train, both 
east and west on the Grand Trunk line, and, by changing at Lucan, 
crossing north and south on the Huron and Bruce line, could visit the 
lodges. Certainly the advent of rail travel from the days of the Canada 
Company was showing its usefulness. 

Unfortunately, due to the prevailing low economic conditions at the 
time and the depressed prices of farm produce, the Brethren decided to 
surrender their charter. 

Later, on November 24, 1920, Masons met in the Oddfellows Hall 
in Ailsa Craig, intent on forming another lodge. The new lodge was 
constituted, dedicated and consecrated on Wednesday, September 7, 
1921. Incidently, the lodge was constituted as Craig No. 574 on the 
Registry of Grand Lodge by the D.D.G.M, R.W.Bro. Isaac Hetherington, 



of Morning Star Lodge, Carlow. Three of the 32 chartered members were 
former members of the first Craig Lodge No. 214. 

The lodge met for several years in quarters above the Canadian 
Imperial Bank of Commerce. In 1929, the present building was 
purchased from the Order of Foresters. After several renovations, the 
brethren are comfortably situated. 


In the roaring twenties Masons in the Tavistock area were in the 
habit of travelling to Stratford by train or other means to attend lodge. A 
group of them became interested in starting a lodge in Tavistock. 

This lodge was sponsored by Tecumseh Lodge No. 144 of Stratford, 
and was formed June 13, 1922 with 20 charter Members. 

Since institution, Tavistock Lodge has set a precedent in terms of 
location in that it has held its meetings in the same building. The original 
lodge rooms were heated by a wood-burning stove, and Bro. John Krug 
was the stove tender. On meeting days he would start the stove in the 
afternoon to take the chill off for the evening meeting. The meetings 
were often short, no doubt owing to the fact that the Master's chair was 
furthest from the heat. 

A decision was made to form a committee to purchase the building 
when the McKay estate was being settled. In 1946, tliree brethren backed 
notes to purchase the premises. 

Initially in South Huron District, the lodge later became part of 
Wilson North District when districts were re-organized by Grand Lodge 
in 1990. Over the years several of the members have been elected or 
appointed to Grand Lodge offices. Interestingly enough, R.W.Bro. James 
A. Fisher was D.D.G.M. of Wilson North District in 1997. His father, Dr. 
John K. Fisher, was D.D.G.M. of South Huron District in 1956. 


While other lodges were searching for quarters, Morning Star No. 
309 had already appointed a committee to secure land on which to build 
a lodge, and, in 1875, Bro. James Young took the contract to construct 
a new building. 

In 1880, an invitation was extended to the brethren of Morning Star 
Lodge to take part in laying the cornerstone of the new St. George's 
Church in Goderich. Members of Morning Star were again present at the 
laying of the cornerstone for the Auburn Presbyterian Church. 



The lodge was refitted in 1922 by removing the stable and 
converting this area to a dining room. Further improvements were made 
in the early 1970's. 

A hundred years of Masonry in Colborne Township was celebrated 
in 1974. In addition, a test of the continuing strength of this lodge 
manifested itself on May 7, 1994 when the new lodge room was 
dedicated by M. W. Bro. C. Edwin Drew, G.M. A seed had been planted 
and with a commitment of financial support from the Brethren, the time 
was ripe. Brethren, we are now enjoying the harvest as we meet together 
here this evening. 


Obvious similarities in the life of the lodges of South Huron District 
were the obstacles associated with a permanent home and with 
fluctuating membership. These problems still exist due to economic 
conditions and declining and shifting population. 

In 1919, farms were one hundred acres in size. It took three horses 
one day to plough one acre with a one-furrow plough. In 1949, farms 
grew to two hundred acres. A thirty-five horse power tractor and three- 
furrow plough could work one acre per hour. In 1999, farms of five 
hundred acres are not unusual and tractors of one hundred and twenty- 
five horsepower can plough ten acres per hour. This advancement in 
technology is, no doubt, in part responsible for our decline in 
membership as rural population diminishes. 

However, hope manifests itself in successes. Technology has brought 
us the Internet, and South Huron has its own website, an excellent one at 
that. Words from the final charge at Installation, benevolent without 
ostentation, and who aids his fellow men without self intent, ring true in 
South Huron. The Brethren raised more than six thousand dollars in 
three weeks to assist in the relief of victims in the recent floods in 
Manitoba. A Coats for Kids project was initiated three years ago and has 
enjoyed on-going success, bringing warmth to the bodies and hearts of 
hundreds of children at Christmas. In addition, Masonry will have a 
strong presence at the International Plowing Match to be held near 
Dashwood in September of 1999. 

A number of brethren in South Huron District have served their 
lodge, their district, their Grand Lodge, as well as their communities, 
with zeal and dedication. A few of these Masons have been recipients of 
the prestigious William Mercer Wilson Medal for their commitment. 

The lodges of South Huron have a colourful and glorious past. They 
have in their possession a legacy that cannot be allowed to slip away and 



be lost in the sands of time. The torch must be carried proudly and the 
flame fuelled by the desire to perpetuate this fraternity for those who are 
to follow. 


Narrator: It's May 19, 1999 - 125 years in Morning Star 
Lodge. We must bury a new time capsule to mark a trail for 
our children's children, so that the torch of tradition is 
passed from generation to generation. 

Time Capsule - deposit items, documents etc. in time capsule to 
right of altar - small group of Masons make a semi circle around 
burial site in west. 

# 1 - Timothy Eaton - entrepeneur, Kirton 

Arthur Meighon - Prime Minister of Canada, St. Marys 

#2 - Bible Bill Aberhard - Premier of Alberta, Seaforth 

Cooney Weiland - Boston Bruins, Seaforth 

Lloyd Eisler - Olympic Skater, Seaforth 

#3 - Howie Morenz - Montreal Canadians, Mitchell 

Walt Disney Ancestors, Holmesville 

Frank Copus - Grand Master, Stratford 

#4 - Paul Henderson - 1972 Canada Russia Hockey Hero, 


#5 - Y2K Milennium Bug; Black Donnelly 's, Lucan; Kosovo; 

Littleton Colorado; Tabor Alberta 

#6 -Maple Leaf Gardens closes, 1999 

Wayne Gretsky retires, 1999 

#7 - Jan. 1999 - Morning Star Lodge Notice (Oyster Supper) 

South Huron Grand Master Reception invitation, to honour M. W. 

Bro. William T Anderson 

South Huron - Grand Master Reception, Holmesville, May 1, 1999 

#8 - We must also put back these immortal: John Gait, Tiger 

Dunlop, Colonel Van Egmond . . . and, R. W.Bro. Hazlitt, there is 

one more tangible historical document: your speech. 





Beldon, H. and Co., Illustrated Historical Atlas of the County of Huron. 
Toronto, 1879. 

Campbell, Isabel, The Huron Expositor, Seaforth, Ontario, 1988. 

Leitch, Adelaide, Floodtides of Fortune - The Story of Stratford, The 
Corporation of the City of Stratford, Stratford, Ontario, 1980. 

Lodge histories submitted by constituent lodges of South Huron District. 

MacDougall, Robert; Thompson, Elizabeth ed, The Emigrants Guide to 
North America. Natural Heritage Books, 1998. 

Van Egmond, Fred, The Importance of Liberty. The Huron Expositor, 
Seaforth, Ontario, 1975. 

Wooden, J. L.,A History of Exeter, Ontario, 1973. 

A Drum to Beat Upon, 1971. 


Vignettes were choreographed by R. W.Bro. Bruce E. Whitmore, 
P.D.D.G.M. South Huron District, of Britannia Lodge No. 170, Seaforth. 

Various roles were played by R. W.Bro. John T. Wise, P.D.D.G.M. 
South Huron District, of Clinton Lodge No. 84, Clinton; R.W.Bro. 
Murray Lee, RD.D.G.M. South Huron District, of Craig Lodge No. 574, 
Alsa Craig; V.W.Bro. William T. Strong, P.G.S., South Huron District, 
of Britannia Lodge No. 170, Seaforth; W.Bro. Philip Young, P.M., of 
Morning Star Lodge No. 309, Carlow; W.Bro. Barry Millian, P.M., of 
Morning Star Lodge No. 309, Carlow; W.Bro. Ian Keuls, P.M., of 
Morning Star Lodge No. 309, Carlow (deceased May 21, 1999); W.Bro. 
Brian Baldwin, P.M., Affiliated Member of Morning Star Lodge No. 309, 




by W.Bro. PAUL R. A. E. SKAZIN 

Preston-Hespeler Masonic Temple 
Cambridge, Ontario - September 15 th , 1999 

A brief history of the Masonic Temple at Yonge 

and Davenport (888 Yonge Street), Toronto, and 

its glorious alternate at 16 Spadina Road, Toronto 


The cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple, Yonge and Davenport, 
was laid on Saturday afternoon, November 17 th , 1917. Before proceeding 
with this tale an overview of the events leading up to tins auspicious date 
would be in order. 


Between 1867 and 1917, Freemasons of the City of Toronto met in 
numerous locations. Often, lodges who shared the same facility formed 
common committees to oversee the facility's administration. The largest 
of these committees was the Masonic Hall Board of Trustees. At one 
time ten lodges comprised (he Masonic Hail Trust. John Ross Robertson 
(M. W.Bro Robertson was Grand Master, commencing 1890, for two 
years) headed up the Trust for many years, until shortly before his death 
in 1918. 

Other lodges and bodies such as Ashlar Lodge, Scottish Rite and 
Royal Arch Masons were quite independent entities and rented their own 
facilities. Ashlar Lodge's home was at 801 Yonge Street. At the turn of 
the century, by coincidence, the leases on several properties used by 
Freemasons were running out. New leases could be obtained but in some 
cases at very large rent increases. For example, rising for one body from 
$3,000.00 per year to $8,000.00. 

Ashlar Lodge's situation appears to have been the most critical and 
in 1906 they amended their bylaws to permit their Trustees to sell assets 



in order to raise capital. Their aim was to purchase land for the erection 
of a temple building. They also gave permission to their Trustees to form 
a company to administer the task and raise the necessary capital. Things 
moved very rapidly. Letters Patent to form a new company to be known 
as the Masonic Temple Company (The Company), was issued on 28th 
May 1906. The shareholders of the new company were Ashlar Lodge No. 
247, St Paul's Chapter No. 65 and Scottish Rite. Principal officers of The 
Company were: Benjamin Allen (M.W.Bro. Allen was Grand Master 
commencing 1904, for one year), Lewis F. Riggs, John McKnight, 
Thomas Read, Aubrey White and Secretary, W. H. Best. Capital was set 
at $50,000.00, made up of $50.00 x 1000 shares. 


Primitive Methodist Church 
At the formation of The Company a property had already been 
selected and agreement reached between Benjamin Allen and the 
property owner Senator J. K Kerr (M.W.Bro. James Kilpatrick Kerr was 
Grand Master Commencing in 1875 for two and one half years, following 
the death of the First Grand Master, M.W.Bro. William Mercer Wilson, 
in 1875). The property was situated on the northwest corner of Yonge 
Street and Davenport Road. The lot was irregularly shaped and its 
longest dimensions were 138 feet by 81 feet. The amount paid was 
$12,000.00. Senator Kerr elected to take back shares in the new company 



in the amount of $1,500.00, Ashlar Lodge paid $6,000.00 in cash and the 
Senator's wife took back a mortgage of $4,500.00. Ashlar Lodge Trustees 
also purchased, for $350.00, the near-derelict Primitive Methodist 
Church, which stood on the property. Scottish Rite bought $2,000.00 of 
stock in the new company and St Paul's Chapter $1,000.00. 

The original park lot, on the second concession from the Bay, 
includes the land on which the Temple was to be built. In March of 1798 
the Crown granted this park lot to the Hon. David W. Smith, the 
Surveyor-General of Lands for Upper Canada. He, in turn, granted the 
entire lot to Hon. John Elmsley in July 1799, and since that date it has 
been divided at different times and owned by various persons, until 1906, 
when the Masonic Temple Company acquired the section. There is no 
record of a building of any kind between the years 1794 and 1857. A 
frame building, used as a butcher shop, kept by William Booth and 
Thomas Tasker, was erected in 1857 and stood until it was demolished 
in 1867 to make room for the Primitive Methodist Church. 

The Masonic Temple Company with the help and assistance of many 
leading Toronto Masons set about raising capital through share 
subscriptions. The Company engaged an architect to design a suitable 
building, which would accommodate the interests of the principal lodges, 
at a cost not to exceed $50,000.00. However, raising money through 
share subscriptions did not meet expectation fast enough and the 
directors of The Company felt it not prudent to commence building until 
The Company had sufficient funds. By 1911 no start had been made on 
building the Masonic Hall. And The Company had only managed to raise 
about $36,000.00 in subscriptions. 

In 1897 the Masonic Hall Trust on behalf of St. Andrews Lodge No. 
16, King Solomon's Lodge No. 22, Ionic Lodge No. 25, Rehoboam 
Lodge No. 64, St. John's Lodge No. 75, Wilson Lodge No. 86, Stevenson 
Lodge No. 218, Doric Lodge No. 316, Zetland Lodge No. 326 and 
Harmony Lodge No. 438 signed a 20-year lease with the Independent 
Order of Foresters (I.O.F.) for two floors of space to be used for lodge and 
banquet rooms in the Temple Building situated at the northwest corner 
of Bay and Richmond Streets in Toronto. 

By 1912 the members of the Masonic lodges meeting in the Temple 
Building were aware that the lease would be expiring at a comparatively 
early date and could not be renewed on acceptable terms. It was therefore 
crucial that another suitable Masonic home be found. Efforts had been 
made, at various times, to procure another downtown site, but the great 



increase in the value of downtown property was always a formidable 
difficulty. With the rapid movement of the city's population northward, 
it was desirable that the new Masonic home be situated not far from 
Bloor Street. 


In effort to resolve their respective situations, an agreement was 
reached and signed on May 31 st 1912 between The Masonic Temple 
Company, the lodges comprising the Masonic Hall Trust, Ashlar Lodge 
No. 247, Georgina Lodge No. 345, Corinthian Lodge No. 481, St, 
Andrews and St. John's Chapter R.A.M., King Solomon's Chapter 
R.A.M., St. Paul's Chapter R.A.M., Antiquity Chapter R.A.M., St. 
Patrick's Chapter R A.M., Geoffrey de St. Aldennar Preceptory, Toronto 
Lodge of Perfection and Rose Croix Chapter. This agreement in short 
resolved that Toronto Freemasonry should pool their resources through 
the creation of a new company to be known as the Masonic Temple 
Corporation (The Corporation) with authorized capital of $350,000.00 
comprised of 14,000 shares at $25.00 each. 

The Masonic Temple Corporation was to acquire assets of the 
Masonic Temple Company including land and cash for shares. The Hall 
Trust was to provide $60,000.00 in share subscriptions by October 15 th 
1912. The charter for The Corporation was granted on November 23 rd 
1912 and the first meeting of its directors was held at the residence of 
Mr. H. A. Taylor, 22 Grenville St. on December 16, 1912. The principal 
officers of The Corporation would be, amongst others, W. D. McPherson 
(President), Henry A. Taylor and several Directors of the Masonic 
Temple Company. John Ross Robertson was approached to head up the 
new corporation but declined. Nonetheless, he gave the project his 
blessing and did much through his newspaper to promote the sale of 
shares and bonds. 

Property values were increasing rapidly, at the time, and it was felt 
that the location previously purchased by the former company on Yonge 
Street was not a suitable location or of adequate size. It was unanimously 
resolved at a large and representative meeting of Ruling Officers of the 
various lodges interested, that the first requirement was to find a site in 
the neighbourhood of Bloor Street, but considerably west of Yonge Street. 
The directors of The Corporation were requested to immediately 
purchase, what in their judgement would be, a suitable location. 

The directors set about acquiring land for a facility, that would be 



much larger than that previously envisaged. The new building would be 
capable of catering to die needs of all Toronto Masonic bodies and would 
be die foremost of its kind in North America. During the first few months 
of 1913 a number of sites were considered. On March 28 th 1913 a written 
offer was received from Sheriff Mowatt to sell his residence at 16 
Spadina Road for $30,000.00 The size of the property was 100 ft frontage 
with a depth of 198 ft. Sheriff Mowatt accepted an offer made by The 
Corporation for $28,000.00. The Corporation 's solicitor advised that 
there were no building restrictions that would prevent the construction of 
a Masonic Temple. On March 28 th the directors approved listing the 
property at Yonge and Davenport for sale. An offer for $60,000.00 for 
this property was received on June 2 nd 1913 but was declined, as the 
terms and price were not considered satisfactory. At a subsequent 
meeting held on Feb 14 th 1914 a value of $85,000.00 was placed on this 

The Masonic Temple Company wound up operations with the 
hand-over of its assets to a trustee, prior to all of their assets in coimnon 
going to The Masonic Temple Corporation, on May 2 nd 1913. As far as 
the other partners in the new corporation are concerned (The Masonic 
Hall Trust under John Ross Robertson) remained an active entity by 
continuing their lease at Temple Building, Bay Street, until February 7 th 
1918, one month after the opening of the new Temple at 888 Yonge 



It was decided to arrange for a competition for the design of the New 
Temple at 16 Spadina Road and an architect was hired to consult with 
The Corporation during the selection process. The terms of the 
competition were approved on September 16 th 1913 and appropriate 
advertisements were placed. The competitors were expected to design a 
building that would cost about $250,000.00. An assembly room for 1,500 
persons and a banquet/supper room for 500 persons for revenue purposes 
along with a main lodge room to accommodate 500 Masons were part of 
the suggested plans. 

By February 1914 forty-one submissions had been received. These 
were opened on February 14 th . Architects from across Canada were 
represented and three submissions came from architects in the United 
States. Four prizes were awarded as follows: 1 st $1,000 to H.P. Knowles, 
New York, U.S.A.; 2 nd $750 to John Lyle, 14 Leader Lane, Toronto; 3 rd 



$500 to Hutchison Wood and Miller, Montreal and 4 th $250 to Warren 
Gould And A.E. Harvey, Vancouver, B.C. All the submissions were 
subsequently put on display for two weeks in the Main Branch of the 
Toronto Public Library. 

Including the assets thus taken over from The Masonic Temple 
Company, together with new subscriptions of over $60,000.00, The 
Corporation had resources estimated to amount to not less than 
$150,000.00 to proceed with the new and enlarged undertaking however 
additional funding was needed. 

Fund raising to finance construction by way of subscription for 
shares of The Corporation was an on-going concern for the directors. 
Shares were sold on an installment basis of 25% down and the balance 
payable over the period of about one year. Most subscriptions from 
Masons were for lots of between one to four shares at $25 per share. 
While several campaigns were conducted and a steady stream of share 
sales resulted, the total subscribed was always short of what was required. 
Additionally, each month several subscribers asked to be relieved of their 
commitment for the purchase of shares. These applications were usually 

On September 12 th 1914 The Corporation 's solicitor reported: 

The plans filed by The Corporation 's Architect are satisfactory 
as far as the structure of the building is concerned and comply 
with civic requirements except for minor items. He went on to 
report the City Architect 's hands were tied (from issuing a 
building permit) by a letter he received on May 6 th from the 
Board of Control directing him not to issue the permit. The 
grounds being the proposed building would violate By-law #86 
passed on April 1 st 1914 to prohibit the location of Exhibitions 
held for gain or hire, Theatres, Music Halls, Bowling Alleys, 
Moving Picture Shows and other places of amusement on any 
land abutting on W aimer Road and Spadina Road between 
Bloor Street and Dupont Street. 

The solicitor was of the opinion the By-law could not be construed 
to apply to the proposed Temple and that a mandamus could be obtained 
directing the City Architect to issue the permit. Before taking this step he 
suggested contacting the Board of Control and pointing out their error. 

By November 7 th 1914 the City Architect had approved the plans for 
the Temple and affixed his stamp to the same. The Board of Control 
however remained adamant in their position and legal action was 



commenced. A number of meetings took place with the City to resolve 
the issue and the action also continued in the courts. Finally at the end 
of March 1915 Justice Middleton issued an order to the City to issue the 
building permit forthwith. 

In die meantime tenders for construction of the Temple were issued. 
Seventeen tenders were received from contractors however these were 
extended to permit the resolution of legal matter mentioned above. 
Tenders for construction ranged from $365,500.00 to $437,846.00 with 
most being in the area of $400,000.00. A committee was formed to 
determine the ways and means to finance construction and or reduce the 
cost. It was proposed to reduce the Temple in size by one complete floor. 
It was determined that construction cost represented an amount of $50.00 
for each member of the lodges involved. It was proposed that this 
amount, less that already collected from the various lodges, be assessed 
on a pro-rata basis amongst all lodges involved and leave them 
responsible for the fund raising. This proposal was quickly discarded. 

Reduced tenders were received however the cost was still too high. 
Several contractors offered to assist by extending loans but the project 
became stalled. By November 1915 it was decided to advise John Ross 
Robertson, the chairman of the Masonic Hall Trust, that due to 
circumstances some time may elapse before contracts for construction 
could be let and that he should take steps to renew the lease with the 
I.O.F. As of December 30 th 1915, M. W. Bro. Robertson had still not been 
able to renew the lease. 


In the early spring of 1916 John Ross Robertson in conjunction with 
a local architect, W. J. Sparling, conceived a plan for an alternate Temple 
to be constructed at the Yonge and Davenport site. A committee of the 
directors of The Corporation met with the architect in John Ross 
Robertson's office and the plans were reviewed which included the use 
of reinforced concrete, a new concept, which would reduce construction 
costs. On May 15 th 1915 the directors formally approved the Yonge and 
Davenport site as the location for the New Temple. The site at 16 
Spadina Road was sold in June of 1918 for $17,000.00. 

During June and July of 1916 a settlement with Mr. Knowles, the 
architect for the original Temple at 16 Spadina Road was reached. A 
contract with Mr. Sparling was subsequently negotiated and signed. 
Plans were reviewed and approved. The cost of the building was 
estimated at $175,000.00. 



On October 6, 1916 a proposed operating budget was presented to 
the directors of The Corporation. Proposed expenses totalled $18,070.00 
and income $19,000.00. A paid staff of nine was included in the plan and 
interest on a loan of $75,000.00 was also contemplated. Masonic rentals 
were expected to contribute $14,000.00 and $5,000.00 from the rental of 
the Auditorium from no-Masonic rentals. 

A campaign to raise $125,000.00 for the construction was set in 
motion during October 1916. This was to be different from previous 
attempts as the construction of the Temple was going to parallel the fund 
raising effort. John Ross Robertson was to act as General Chairman of 
the fund raising campaign. Representatives, acting as team captains, 
from all prospective tenant Masonic bodies that included 15 lodges, 6 
chapters, 2 Preceptories, Rameses Temple, The Lodge of Perfection and 
Rose Croix Chapter, were appointed to assist him. John Ross Robertson, 
the publisher of The Evening Telegram, committed advertising space in 
his paper, without cost and all his time, to ensure the campaign was a 

A fund raising campaign expert, Mr. E. J. Hockenbury of Harrisburg 
Pennsylvania, was engaged. His view was that a properly organized 
campaign operating in a systematic manner would be successful. His fee 
was 2% of the funds pledged plus expenses. 

One of the highlights of the campaign was a series of receptions held 
in the Temple Building at Bay and Richmond from December 1 1 th to 14 th 
inclusive. The affair was catered at a cost of 50 cents per head. The 
terms of the stock subscription were 20% by January 1 st 1917 and 20% 
every 3 months with the last payment due January 1 st 1918. The 
campaign was successful to the extent an office had to be rented and a 
person hired to look after the great volume of paperwork. A large part of 
the success was due to the efforts of John Ross Robertson who worked 
tirelessly during the campaign. 


The contract for the tearing down of the existing church, excavation 
and shoring was approved and signed on November 2 nd 1916. 

Construction moved ahead during 1917. A number of problems had 
to be dealt with. These included a lawsuit concerning the design of the 
reinforced concrete, rising construction costs, and changes in materials 
from original specifications. There was a preference for Canadian- 
sourced material. Effort was made to have contractors complete work 



early in their shops where, possible, to fast track construction. By July of 
1917 it became apparent there would be a shortfall of cash to pay for 
construction and it was decided to apply for a bank loan of $75,000.00. 
While many subscribers of stock made their payments on time there was 
a substantial portion in arrears. 

By November 1917 the Temple was nearing completion and it was 
decided to hold a ceremony to lay the cornerstone on. The auditorium 
was rushed to completion for the holding of a special meeting of Grand 
Lodge on November 17 th at 3:00 p.m. for tins purpose. William R. 
Edwards, a member of Acacia Lodge, made the cornerstone. A cavity was 
created within the stone and in it were placed Canadian coins of the 
value of 10, 50, 100, 250, 500, and a $5 gold piece along with Toronto 
newspapers of the date. 


The cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple, Yonge and Davenport, 
was laid on Saturday afternoon, November 17 th , 1917. All the Masters of 
the Toronto Districts and about 300 the brethren of the Toronto lodges 
were present. Grand Lodge was opened, in the ground floor auditorium, 
in ample form at three o'clock by M.W. the Grand Master, Bro. William 
Wardrope. The Grand Master announced the purpose of the special 
coimnunication of Grand Lodge. Grand Lodge was then called off and a 
procession was formed under the direction of the Grand Director of 
Ceremonies and marched to a site, in the prescribed order and took up 
their positions at the northeast corner of the building where the 
cornerstone was to be laid. 

The Grand Master consecrated die stone with corn, wine and oil, and 
pronounced it well made, truly laid, well proved, true and trusty. The 
procession was then re-formed and the brethren returned to the 
Auditorium, where Grand Lodge was closed. After Grand Lodge had 
closed the brethren remained in the Auditorium, and listened to several 
speeches that were delivered by prominent members of Grand Lodge. 

The following is quoted from M.W.Bro. William Wardrope's speech: 

And we have laid the cornerstone this afternoon according to 
ancient usages and customs. The stone has been placed in 
position. Those of you who were there will have noticed that it 
was placed in a different position from that in which stones are 
usually laid. The cornerstone of a building when I was a young 
man was one of the first laid in connection with a building, but 







mmmx m toe laying of the camm-mom, by m. w. sua 





builders have made such progress now that the cornerstone is 
the last stone to be put in. The roof is on your building, and 
instead of placing a stone on which the structure is to rest, the 
building is erected and a place prepared for the repose of the 

The following is quoted from M.W. Bro. John Ross Robertson's speech: 

Now, in conclusion, let me just say: One thing for certain we 
have found out in our experience, as others have found out in 
their experience, that it is cheaper to move than to pay rent. 
This is certainly more than a red-letter day for the Craft in 
Toronto. When we look at this magnificent home that has been 
erected through the exertions of the Craftsmen of Toronto, we 
realize that we have a local habitation that is in some degree 
worthy of the ten or fifteen lodges and the three thousand 
Craftsmen who will gather around the great lights in this 
building. These lights were first spread in this city in 1 794— or 
one hundred and twenty-five years ago. There was never a time 
in the history of Masonry when so many brethren had to carry 
sad hearts, or when the great lights have shown so many 
anxious faces. We are here as Britishers, Canadians and 
Freemasons, believing that the storms of war will end in the 
sunshine of victorious peace. As British subjects, we have 
further to believe that the Union Jack - the British Empire - the 
Canadian Nation - and Freemasonry are permanent insti- 
tutions. We rejoice in the progress that has been made in the 
craft in Toronto, from its beginnings 125 years ago up to the 
triumph marked by this assembly today. We believe that this 
progress is the prophecy of the greater progress which will be 
made by the generation of brethren who will later be found in 
the Craft Lodges that assemble in this palatial Temple. 


While some interior finishing was still underway, the first lodge 
Meeting was held on January 1 st 1918 by Ionic Lodge No. 25, the first 
Installation took place on January 3 rd by Rehoboam Lodge No. 65 and the 
first Initiation by Georgina Lodge No. 343 on January 5 th when Russell 
C. Foy was admitted. 


The Masonic Temple at 888 Yonge Street is designed in the Italian 
Renaissance style. The lower storeys, cornices, window framing are in 



grey Indiana stone. The brickwork is Don Valley rug or tapestry brick, 
laid with wide raked out joints in Flemish bond. A notable feature of the 
building is the manner in which it is designed in reinforced concrete. The 
entire framing is carried out in a manner never before attempted. The 
auditorium is spanned by one large reinforced concrete truss, 78 feet 
long, carrying two other trusses, 67 feet long. These trusses carry the 
greater portion of the building above the ground floor level and also the 
walls of the lodge rooms above. 

The basement includes a large banquet room, caretaker's apartments, 
pantries, kitchens, coat rooms and lavatories. The large banquet room is 
so arranged that it may be divided into two banquet rooms. 

r-rr: — nr 1,; 

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I* I 







The ground floor is devoted to a main auditorium, ladies retiring 
room and coatroom and men's smoking room and coatroom. The 
auditorium is designed for public concerts, dances and banquets, having 
a large clear space of 67 feet x 78 feet, free of columns. It is equipped 
with a stage, dressing room and pantry. The auditorium is intended for 
rental purposes and is separate from the Masonic quarters. 

The ground floor mezzanine takes care of the auditorium gallery, 
Masonic Board room, office rooms and locker rooms. 

On the first floor are a large and also a medium-sized Craft Lodge 



room and a large Chapter room, with accommodation in each for a choir. 
The members have a large foyer or lounge room outside of the lodge 
rooms. The first floor mezzanine contains a large storeroom. 

The second, or top floor is for the use of the Scottish Rite and 
Preceptory bodies. This comprises two large lodge rooms with anterooms, 
lounging rooms, banquet room and pantry. 


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The second floor mezzanine takes care of choir accommodation to 
the lodge rooms, robing room, and locker rooms etc. 

The roof, which is designed for drilling purposes, is covered with 
Welsh promenade tile. 


The opening of 1918 saw The Corporation short of funds. Material 
and construction costs had risen due to delays in awarding contracts as 
a result of major alterations to the original plans. The need to have the 
building available for meetings in January also added to the cost. 
Payments to the contractor during 1917 totalled $185,794.17 while 
$108,147.50 was received in payment of stock subscriptions. The sum 
remaining to be paid in by shareholders was $94,495.00. The auditorium 
had been completed by January and was already booked for a variety of 
social events. This was a very fine hall for the time and it was expected 



that it would be in high demand for high-class entertainment, Balls, etc. 
Thirteen Craft Lodges, four Cliapters and one Preceptory were tenants as 
of February 1918. The two Scottish Rite Bodies were still negotiating 
arrangements for their tenancy. 

To cover the shortfall a bank loan of $70,000.00 was arranged. A 
further campaign for funds was required. It was decided to raise 
$75,000.00 by way of a Debentures secured by the Temple Building. The 
sales campaign was to commence in mid-May and again Mr. E. J. 
Hockenbury was engaged to direct the sales campaign. The campaign 
was a complete success being oversubscribed. 

By September it was determined that the final construction cost of 
the building was $220,864.00, an overrun of about $45,000.00. 

Year-end financial statements for 1918 recorded a loss $12,959.00. 
Notwithstanding tius loss, the rental outlook for the future was excellent. 
In is interesting to note that a worldwide flu epidemic occurred in 1918, 
which affected the rental of the auditorium. Of concern was the debt 
situation. Tlte Corporation was carrying net liabilities of $58,589.00 that 
needed to be paid. There were some $48,494.00 in unpaid stock 
subscriptions and these were proving hard to collect. A further campaign 
to sell stock was approved for November of 1919. The authorized capital 
of Tlte Corporation was increased to $500,000.00 to accommodate. The 
campaign was successful. 

By the end of 1920 The Corporation was finally in good financial 
condition. All debts except the Bond issue had been retired and this had 
been reduced. The Temple was the home to 18 craft Lodges, five 
Chapters, two Preceptories and the two Scottish Rite bodies. 


The Temple enjoyed a strong financial position at the end of 1921. 
Operating profit for 1921 was substantial and the number of tenant 
lodges increased to 22. Arrears on stock subscriptions remained. 
However, several lodges made good the amounts owed by their 
delinquent members and acquired the forfeited shares in their own 

By the end of 1925 the Temple had as tenants 27 Craft Lodges, six 
Chapters, two Preceptories, two Scottish Rite Bodies and Adoniram 
Council. No debt was carried except for the bond issue, $53,750.00. This 
amount was offset by investments totalling almost $40,000.00. The 



investments were purchased from the profits generated from operations. 
The bonds were paid in full on their due date on April 1 st 1928. 

The Corporation operated profitably and without incurring debt 
throughout the depression. Most of its income came from tenant Masonic 
Bodies. Hall rentals were a minor source of income during this period. 

The Corporation operated in a fiscally responsible manner until 
approximately the mid 1960s the Masonic. The auditorium had lost some 
of its appeal as a public venue and needed updating. With the growth of 
the city and construction of Temples closer to their membership, Masonic 
tenants relocated, creating further reductions in operating income. 


In the early 70s the auditorium was leased out to a company known 
as The Rockpile. Sufficient income was generated to cover current 
expenses from this source and from Masonic tenants. Nothing much was 
done to keep the building in good order. In the late 70s the Rockpile 
ceased operations. 

By the late 1970s, due to the ravages of time and the lack of ongoing 
maintenance, the building required substantial renovation and upgrading 
of systems. A New Manager was appointed in 1979 and he agreed to 
obtain non-Masonic tenants for the auditorium for a commission and to 
operate the building. He had some success in obtaining new tenants but, 
after mortgage interest etc., the building continued to generate losses. 

At the time the New Manager took over (1979/80) renovations and 
upgrades to the building were made as a result of building code 
violations, safety concerns and appearance. The cost at that time was 
about $300,000.00. Initially the cost was covered by a loan from the 
Scottish Rite. However, this loan was quickly repaid from the proceeds 
of a private mortgage at high rates of interest, ranging to 17.5%. (The 
first debt on the building since the bond issue was repaid in 1928). 

Income was not sufficient to cover operating expenses, repairs, taxes 
and mortgage interest. The New Manager with director's approval, 
covered the deficits by adding the ongoing shortfalls to the mortgage 
debt. For the years 1980 to 1993 annual losses ranged from a low of $30 
thousand to a high of $217 thousand. The largest losses occurred between 
1987 and 1989. 

In 1988 management and directors were replaced by a group of 
dedicated Masons. R W.Bro. Ted Burton replaced the New Manager. Mr. 



Burton was able to increase rental income from non-Masonic tenants. 
However interest on the debt from the past continued to produce losses 

In May 1989 the directors were able arrange a loan/mortgage from 
the Toronto-Dominion Bank (The Bank) at reasonable rates. They 
planned to a raise funds through a variety of campaigns and repay The 
Bank. They launched a number of initiatives but were generally 
unsuccessful in raising any meaningful amount. 

By 1993 operating losses, including interest, from 1980 to 1993 
totalled $1,582,935. This amount plus the original debt of $300,000 
roughly equated to the outstanding bank loan of $1,828,000. It is 
recognized that depreciation, a non-cash item, is included in the loss but 
this amount was exceeded by capital expenditures. 

By June of 1993 The Corporation was in such poor financial 
condition that not only could it not pay interest on its bank loan but also 
property taxes amounting to about $90,000.00 per year were more than 
two years in arrears. With no hope in site The Bank announced its 
intention to Demand Payment of its loan. At this time the author of this 
paper was requested to join the Board of Directors and was subsequently 
elected President of The Corporation. 

On July 9 1993, just after the election of the Board of Directors, the 
Corporation received a letter from the Toronto-Dominion Bank formally 
demanding payment of loans. The Directors were successful in 
negotiating with The Bank to withhold any action pending an effort by 
the new board to resolve the situation. 

In September 1993 a review of financial conditions indicated that 
bank debt was $1,828,000.00 and unpaid taxes $213,358.00, and the 
income shortfall for the first six months of 1993, $88,000.00. 

The directors met frequently in an effort to find a solution to the 
problem. A number of committees were established and many Masons 
were approached for ideas and assistance. After examining the many 
options an effort was made to realize on three concepts, which had been 
developed as follows: 

Conversion of the auditorium and part of the basement area 
to a full time Bingo Hall and snack bar and restaurant. For 
several reasons this did not prove practical. 

Redevelopment of part of the building into Loft 
Condominiums. This project initially showed considerable 
promise. However during due diligence costs rose, the need for 



project equity became essential and market acceptance of the 
units was questionable. The project was dropped. 

Fund Raising. A campaign to solicit funds from Masons to 
repay debt was developed. It became apparent that to be 
successful tax receipts would have to be issued and the project 
would have to have the blessing of various governing Masonic 
bodies. This project was dropped when it became apparent that 
The Corporation could not obtain a charitable designation in 

In November 1993, at the request of The Bank, the building was 
listed for sale under a modified proposal call with the closing date for 
tenders being Feb. 16, 1994. Only one offer, which was unacceptable, 
was received. 

In late March 1994 an unsolicited offer for $2.2 million was 
received. This offer contained terms that would have permitted the 
existing Masonic tenants to remain in the building for at least 10 more 
years with reasonable rental rates. The buyer wanted to use the basement 
area and concert hall for non-Masonic purposes. This offer was accepted 
by the directors but declined by The Bank as insufficient since they still 
would have to write-off a portion of the interest on their loan. 

With no solution in sight the Masonic tenants were notified and 
began an orderly removal of their assets during June of 1994. Masonic 
assets not belonging to any particular lodge and not the property of the 
Masonic Temple Corporation were also removed at this time. The most 
valuable Masonic items, including the paintings of the Grand Masters, 
were transferred to Grand Lodge in Hamilton. 

Many of the paintings have since been placed in various temples. 
The painting of M.W.Bro. William Mercer Wilson, our first Grand 
Master, is suitably located in Simcoe Ontario. The members of Norfolk 
Lodge No. 10 raised a considerable amount of funds to refurbish the 
painting and to have it properly displayed. It is well worth the trip for any 
Mason to visit this lodge and see the painting for himself. Other 
paintings can be found in York Masonic Temple (Toronto), Scarborough 
Temple, Pickering Temple and Stouflville Temple (Richardson Lodge), 
London Masonic Temple and Huntsville, Ontario (Unity Lodge). 

(The remaining paintings in storage at Grand Lodge still 
need a home and any interested group should contact the Grand 
Secretary to make the necessary arrangements. ) 








•♦— > 





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Every building, temples included, requires ongoing maintenance and 
upgrading of systems. The lesson here is, it is essential that temple 
directors and managers ensure these expenses are part of their budget and 
a reserve is maintained to cover the costs when they are incurred. 
Borrowing is not a suitable option. 

When the Temple at 888 Yonge St. was built it was situated to be 
convenient to the members of the tenant lodges. The downtown lodge 
rooms, at Bay and Richmond, were thought to be too expensive and 
inconvenient. By the late 1980's Masonic tenants at 888 Yonge St. 
consisted of 14 Lodges, the two Scottish Rite bodies, one Chapter and the 
Adonirum Council. These numbers represent a drop of 50% in Masonic 
tenants. This points out the fact that the Temple had begun to lose its 
relevance to many Masons who now met elsewhere. Those that left 
cannot be faulted as the city had expanded and the Temple was no longer 
convenient. The loss of Masonic tenants, in the end, would have 
eventually led to the Temples demise as far as Masonry is concerned. 

A building, however lovingly regarded, does not make 
a Mason. Masons have met and still do in all kinds of 
places. While the loss of 888 Yonge is regrettable it did 
have the benefit of increasing the viability of other 
Temples in the Toronto area. Those who have fond 
memories of this fine old structure and the events, in 
which they participated, will carry these memories until 
time shall be no more. 




Minute Book of The Masonic Temple Corporation 
Annual Reports of The Masonic Temple Corporation 
Conditions for Competition, September 12 th 1913 
Prospectus, Masonic Temple Corporation, May 8, 1914 

and December 1 , 1916 
Report of the Laying of the Cornerstone, November 17, 1917 
History of Ashlar Lodge No. 247 
History of Ionic Lodge No. 25 
A History of the Grand Lodge 1855 - 1955 
Personal Files and Recollections of Paul Skazin 
Report of The Asset Disposition Committee, 1994 



Review #1 


by R.W.Bro. Wallace E. McLeod 

We are indebted to W.Bro. Paul Skazin for collecting so much 
information about these two Temples, particularly from archival records 
that are not accessible to most of us. To be sure, many of the details deal 
with financial matters, which would of course be a major concern of the 
Masonic Temple Corporation. One might expect that such a paper would 
not be terribly exciting. But this reader found it fascinating. Maybe that's 
because of the personal associations. My mother Lodge, Mizpah, No 572, 
met in 888 Yonge Street from January 1964 to December 1987, and it 
was there that I served as a Worshipful Master. And as well this was the 
location of the Grand Lodge Library, which was accessible to the 
brethren from 1933 until 1983, and where we had an opportunity to learn 
so much. (Not long afterwards many of the books were moved to the 
Grand Lodge Memorial Building in Hamilton.) 

In some ways, this paper provides a sequel to Bro. Walter P. Ford's 
researches on Masonic meeting places in Toronto from 1792 to 1899 
(Proceedings of The Heritage Lodge, volume 14, 1990-1991, pages 6-19). 
It includes many interesting details. For example, it was exciting to see 
the plans for the projected Masonic Temple at 16 Spadina Road (which 
is now the site of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto). I had 
forgotten about this project — if indeed I ever knew of it ~ but I see that 
it is mentioned by R.W.Bro. Edmund V. Ralph, in his paper on John 
Ross Robertson, in Proceedings of The Heritage Lodge, volume 13, 
1989-90, page 46. 

It was entertaining to learn that the cornerstone of 888 Yonge Street, 
laid on November 17, 1917, was the last stone to be put in after much of 
the building had been erected. It would be worth noting that the former 
Masonic temple is still standing, at least for now, and, from the outside, 
it still provides a striking and impressive view. It is now a television 
studio for station CTV. A brief article, called The Secrets of the Temple, 
about 1,200 words long, by Shannon Black, appeared in the [Toronto] 
National Post for Saturday, March 20,1999. (She had hoped to get in 



touch with W.Bro. Skazin, to learn more about the history of the 
building, but she left it too late, and her deadline intervened.) 

We might call attention to one other important detail. Fluctuations 
in the value of money are intimidating, and can perhaps provide a 
warning to us all. This was a matter of concern to the Grand Historian a 
few years ago, and he presented a report on it which was published in the 
Proceedings of Grand Lodge for 1991, on pages 136-139. He noted that 
nearly 40 years go, Dwight L. Smith, Past Grand Master of Indiana, 
wrote about a Masonic veteran in his jurisdiction who had been honoured 
for his 50 years in the Craft. This man had applied to join in 1911 when 
he was making $10 a week as an apprentice printer. The fee for the 
degrees was $20. He thought enough of Freemasonry to empty his pay 
envelope twice . . . Today petitioners are paying a fee which represents 
a week's wages at the most — sometimes only two or three days! 

We find confirmation of this problem, from another angle, in Bro. 
Skazin's paper. The land on which the Masonic Temple was built was 
purchased for $12,000.00 in 1906, and the cost of its construction in 
1917-18 came to $220,864.00. But in 1994, an offer of 2.2 million 
dollars was deemed to be too low to be acceptable! 

It is no doubt cheering to be reminded that the Temple was in a 
strong financial position from 1921 to 1980; and it must have been very 
distressing for the anonymous New Manager (1979-1988) and for 
R. W.Bro. Edgar G. Burton (1988-1993) to see the debt gradually increase 
to unmanageable proportions. In this context, Bro. Skazin provides some 
sound practical advice. // is essential that temple directors and managers 
ensure these expenses [maintenance and upgrading] are part of their 
budget and a reserve is maintained to cover the costs when they are 
incurred. We must all remember this. 



Review #2 


by Bro. Donald G. Hines 

I am grateful for the opportunity to review W.Bro. Skazin's paper. 
First, I would commend Brother Skazin for undertaking the task. The 
true story of 888 Yonge Street, is in my opinion, one that long required 
airing, if only to remove some of the misconceptions which surfaced over 
the years. 

As a former president of the Masonic Temple Corporation Limited 
(M.T.C.L.), I too had taken the opportunity to read the minute books of 
the M.T.C.L. and found as he did, a fascinating talk of the relevant 
events which culminated with the erection of a Masonic Temple, known 
to Masons as 888 Yonge Street. 

W.Bro. Skazin has masterfully outlined them so we are provided 
with an insight into the problems which dogged the efforts of these 
dedicated Masons whose goal it was to house Toronto Masonry in one 
Masonic home. 

He points out that it was the brethren of Ashlar Lodge No. 247 who 
first conceived the idea of building a temple at this site ~ formed a 
company known as the Masonic Temple Company, purchased the land, 
and obviously convinced St. Paul's Chapter No. 65 R.A.M., and the 
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to join with them. 

The plans for the building called for the first floor to be leased, thus 
providing a commercial revenue to augment rentals from the tenant 
lodges etc. 

The campaign to raise funds began enthusiastically, but as W.Bro. 
Skazih notes it faltered and a series of other events occurred which led 
to a recommendation to scrap this proposal. 

In its place, it was decided ta proceed to erect a Masonic Temple for 
Masonic purposes only, to serve all Masonic bodies in Toronto. 

This new proposal abandoned the plan to provide any commercial 
revenue and absorbed the Masonic Temple Company; forming the 
Masonic Temple Corporation Limited (M.T.C.L.). 



The new Temple was to be erected at 16 Spadina Road and a 
campaign to raise funds produced limited results. Civic governmental 
interference; the advent of World War I; and the subsequent abandon- 
ment of this proposal resulted in a compromised decision to erect a 
smaller but adequate Temple on the site of 888 Yonge Street ~ one again 
devoted to Masonic purposes and lacking any provision to provide any 
commercial revenues. 

One can only speculate upon the trials and tribulations which 
confronted our brethren at that time. Fund raising is a difficult task and 
the collection of pledges made it often more difficult. 

I mentioned earlier that some misconceptions had arisen in the 
minds of some Masons and I was one of them. There was a genuine belief 
that the M.T.C.L. owned more land, that additional parking could have 
been provided. 

The truth is, the property known as 888 Yonge Street, purchased by 
the Masonic Temple Company, had a frontage of only 83 feet on Yonge 
Street and 137.67 feet on Davenport Road. 

The actual footings of the building extended beyond the lot line ~ 85 
feet 7 inches on Yonge Street and 125 feet 5 inches on Davenport Road. 
There is also a short driveway at the westerly limit. (A memorandum of 
Agreement, dated April 16, 1917, between the City of Toronto and the 
M.T.C.L. provided for this encroachment etc.) 

One other, was the mistaken belief that 888 Yonge Street belonged 
to the Masons who met in the building. The fact was, the incorporation 
of the M.T.C.L. as a share-issuing Corporation resulted in the building 
being owned by the shareholders. Some lodges were shareholders, others 
were only tenant lodges, and under the laws of the province, business 
decisions, which required shareholder action, had to be discussed and 
resolved first with them, before information could be disseminated. It led 
to much consternation among Masons meeting in the building. 

W.Bro. Skazin makes mention of the contribution made by M.W. 
Bro. J. R Robertson. There can be no doubt that he added tremendous 
impetus to the project, but my recollection of the M.T.C.L. minutes make 
no reference to his valuable assistance. 

Indeed, shortly before his death, he was out in the evenings 
attempting to collect a shortfall of several thousands which had been 
pledged but never received by The Corporation. 

I am very pleased that W.Bro. Skazin comments upon the 
contribution which R. W.Bro. Edgar Burton made to The Corporation. 
Ted was a Vice-President and accepted the job as Managing Director 



during my tenure. In my judgement, without his enthusiasm and business 
acumen the loss of 888 Yonge Street would have occurred much earlier. 

I might add that behind the scenes, M.W.Bro. A. Lou Copeland was 
a tremendous resource to me in the early days as my tenure as president. 

The goal of a home for Toronto Masonry was a magnificent 
obsession. It was achieved, but as noted, it was a difficult business to 

Management of the M.T.C.L. must bear the responsibility for the 
loss of 888 Yonge Street, but in my opinion no Board of Directors could 
stem the tide. 

The operating costs of the building, coupled with properly taxes, 
could not be offset by rental income paid by tenant lodges. Attempts to 
raise rates resulted in offended tenants moving out of the building. 

Strange, the same events which led to 888 Yonge Street, in the first 
place, were also to play a significant role in its demise. 

Let me here quote a statement I made at my first meeting with the 
M.T.C.L. shareholders during my tenure as president. 

Your Board of Directors have called this meeting in order 

that a general survey of The Corporation's financial affairs may 

be made and to say with all the emphasis we are capable of that 

immediate steps must be taken to supply sufficient money to 

liquidate our liabilities. 

The Directors have laboured to the limit of their ability to 

bring the various interested parties, as well as the rank and file 

of the Craft, to the sense of the responsibilities they should long 

ago assumed, but we have met with no success and now place 

before you our resignation, as a body, to become effective 


I explained that this message was presented to a meeting of the 
Shareholders of the M.T.C.L. on October 31, 1919. 

Sadly, the light which inspired the Brethren to erect 888 Yonge 
Street for Toronto Masonry faded to darkness. 




by R.W.Bro. David A. Fickling 

On His Official Visitation to The Heritage Lodge 

in Preston-Hespeler Masonic Temple 

Wednesday, September 1 5 th , 1999 

In nearly every village, on Main Street everywhere. 
You 'II find a building bearing the Compasses and the Square, 
Nearly always r tis two storeys, with a stairway up one side, 
And a light of various candlepower, your feet to safely guide. 
You f 11 find the best folks go there, f tis where the Masons meet; 
'Tis the finest advertisement you can have on any street. 

This my brethren was a perception written just over 100 years 
ago. Do residents of our towns and cities echo these sentiments 
today? I wonder what Masonic actions or events in those earlier 
times prompted such a favourable opinion to be conceived by those 

Many of our older members will recall that in their early days in 
Lodge the members were much more guarded in their discussions 
outside the Lodge than we are today. 

People didn't speak openly about Lodge activities or its 
membership, and sometimes it was only after a man was initiated 
that he found out that his uncle, or cousin or neighbour was indeed 
a member of the Craft. 

Therefore any opinions that the villagers held were formed, not 
from hearsay, but from personal observation of the behaviours 
demonstrated in the community. 

Is our Freemasonry today, any different from that practiced by 



our ancient brethren? Your immediate response is an emphatic NO! 

Freemasonry is still the same . . . Freemasonry is a way of life. 
The distinguishing characteristics of a Mason's heart, I mean 
Charity, were evident to that whole community of a hundred years 
ago, and the efforts of those Masonic pioneers were acknowledged 
and those Masons held in high esteem. 

But what about us? Do we hide our light under a bushel? Is there 
not even a greater need for charitable works in our age? We need 
not dilate upon its many excellencies, but only on our present 
inability to gratify them. 

What glorious opportunities present themselves to which we must 
respond For the Cause of Good. Remember, It is our usual custom 
to awaken the feelings of every newly initiated brother by making 
such a claim upon his Charity as his circumstances in life may 
fairly warrant. 

The Volume of the Sacred Law tells of the poor widow who 
deposited two mites in the collection . . . and no matter how small 
the amount it will be thankfully received and faithfully applied. The 
response of each of us to any appeal for charity must be in 
proportion to our individual financial ability and in true Masonic 
fashion, is not public information, BUT the results of our combined 
efforts should shine forth. 

Raise your hand if you have heard of Kerry's Place. In 1973, a 
group of parents and friends of teens with autism founded an 
organization now known as Kerry's Place. Since that time special 
homes and programs have been established in six areas of the 
province. Did you read about it in the brochure For the Cause of 
Good] The Masonic Foundation Report of July '99 notes that eight 
families have been assisted with an average subsidy of $520. 

Project H.E.L.P., now called Hearing Research, was established 
in 1978 and now finances Cochlear implants and auditory research 
at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Alan Newell 
reported that the Provincial Government has finally come on board 
and will match our donations. 



Aren't you proud to support VOICE for hearing impaired 
children—to help them develop their ability to listen and speak and 
to have access to services enabling them to learn these critical life 

The success of our Help Nip Drugs in the Bud program will save 
lives and enhance the quality of life for many others. Our support of 
PAD - Parents Against Drugs and CODA— Council on Drug 
Addiction provides for peer programs at both the elementary and 
secondary school levels. 

Bursaries are yet another way we support and impact our young 
people. Last year, 33 university and 49 community college students 
received bursaries totalling $62,150. 

Last year, over one hundred thousand dollars came from the 
Masons of Ontario to assist in providing: 

• a St. John Ambulance vehicle in Frontenac District 

• church rebuilding project in Georgian North 

• juvenile diabetes in Georgian South 

• neo-natal clinic in Hamilton B 

• Brandon Keller fund for autism in Ontario District 

• Camp Trillium in Prince Edward and Waterloo Districts 

• an historic Lodge at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London East 
and London West 

• Drug abuse in Toronto 1 

• Fibromylagia in Toronto 2 

• Children's Wish in Toronto 3 

• About Face in Toronto 4 

• Epilepsy Association in Toronto 7 

• a guide dog by Lebanon Lodge, Oshawa 

• an electric wheelchair 

• a terminally ill child's wish . . . and many other worthy causes. 

The focus of our Masonic Foundation is to reach out into the 
Communities across our province for the CA USE OF GOOD. 

Thus, I am sure that all are now aware of the tremendous 
project set before us these next two years: THE MILLENNIUM 
PROJECT!! . . . 



HELP - 2 - HEAR ! ! 

The OBJECTIVE: to establish a two million dollar capital fund 
to provide a universal Neonatal Hearing Screening system which 
will allow early detection of hearing loss. The challenge will be to 
provide hearing-impaired children the earliest opportunity to develop 
their communication abilities, have normal educational and career 
prospects, and most importantly, improve their quality of life. 
Research has indicated the earlier that detection is carried out, the 
more benefits are to be achieved. HOW CAN YOU HELP?? 

Get involved in the campaign 

Make both a personal and financial contribution 

Help develop an action plan in your Lodges 

Solicit help from relatives and friends 

Communicate the Masonic Foundation Story (info 

available in the Annual Report) 
A mere $30 over two years from each of our 67, 130 members 
would realize the $2 million! What poetry will WE inspire, to be 
bequeathed to succeeding generations? 

Finally, my brethren, as our Fraternity has been formed and 
maintained in perfect unanimity and concord, in which we all 
greatly rejoice, so may it continue until time shall be no more. 

Worshipful Master, members and visitors of The Heritage 
Lodge No. 730; may kindness and brotherly love distinguish your 
conduct as men and as Masons. Within our peaceful walls may our 
children's children celebrate with joy and gratitude, the annual 
recurrence of this auspicious occasion. And may the genuine 
tenents of our time honoured institution be transmitted through our 
Lodge, pure and unimpaired from generation to generation. 

Remember: The hope for our future lies with our youth! 



We have been notified of the following members of 

The Heritage Lodge No. 730 G.R.C. 

Who have Passed to the Grand Lodge Above 

(since previous publication of names of our deceased) 


Sault Ste. Marie 

Keystone Lodge No. 412 G.R.C, Sault Ste Marie 

August 14, 1998 


St. Catharines 

Maple Leaf Lodge No. 103 G.R.C, St. Catharines 

June 2, 1998 


Centennial Lodge No. 684 G.R.C, London 

August 8, 1998 



Grand River Lodge No. 151 G.R.C, Waterloo 

July 17, 1999 

We give thanks for the privilege of knowing them 
and sharing in their lives 



We have been notified of the following members of 

The Heritage Lodge No. 730 G.R.C. 

Who have Passed to the Grand Lodge Above 

(since previous publication of names of our deceased) 



Canada Lodge No. 532 G.R.C, Pickering 

June 16, 1999 



Peel Lodge No. 408 G.R.C, Caledon East 

October 2, 1995 


Imperial East Gate Lodge No. 543, Scarborough 

November 24, 1998 



Zeta Lodge No. 410 G.R.C, Toronto 

November 5, 1998 

We give thanks for the privilege of knowing them 
and sharing in their lives 



R.W.Bro. P. Raymond Borland Worshipful Master 
W.Bro. Gordon L. Finbow Immediate Past Master 
R.W.Bro. Donald L. Cosens .... Senior Warden 
R.W.Bro. William C. Thompson . Junior Warden 

R.W.Bro. R. Cerwyn Davies Chaplain 

R.W.Bro. Duncan J. McFadgen Treasurer 

V.W.Bro. Samuel Forsythe Secretary 

V.W.Bro. George F. Moore . Assistant Secretary 
R.W.Bro. Donald A. Campbell . . Senior Deacon 

R.W.Bro. Carl M. Miller Junior Deacon 

V.W.Bro. George A. Napper Director of Ceremonies 

R.W.Bro. John H. Hough Inner Guard 

W.Bro. Michael P. Govier Senior Steward 

W.Bro. Ebrahim Washington . . . Junior Steward 

V.W.Bro. Donald E. Schatz Organist 

W.Bro. Raymond S. J. Daniels Historian 

R.W.Bro. W. Douglas Mitchell Tyler 



Liaskas Paintings, CHIPS Editor and Marketing 

R.W.Bro. Edmund V. Ralph 

Editor of Annual Proceedings 

W.Bro. John F. Sutherland 

Masonic Information & William J. Dunlop Award Committee 

V.W.Bro. Donald B. Kaufman 


R.W.Bro. Albert A. Barker 

Black Creek Masonic Heritage Committee 

R.W.Bro. E. J. Burns Anderson 

Annual Banquet 

W.Bro. Ebrahim Washington 

R.W.Bro. Kenneth G. Bartlett 

R.W.Bro. M. Keith McLean 


Western Ontario 

R.W.Bro. Arthur S. Rake 

Central/Northern Ontario 

R.W.Bro. Glenn H. Gilpin 

Eastern Ontario 

R.W.Bro. Leonard Harrison 

Toronto Districts 

V.W.Bro. John P. McLaughlin 

Niagara/Hamilton Area 

R.W.Bro. E. Warren Lay 



1977-1978 R.W.Bro. Jacob Pos 

1979 R.W.Bro. Keith R. A. Flynn 

1980 - - R.W.Bro. Donald G. S. Grinton 

1981 - - - M.W.Bro. Ronald E. Groshaw 

1982 V.W.Bro. George E. Zwicker 

1983 R.W.Bro. Balfour LeGresley 

1984 M.W.Bro. David C. Bradley 

1985 M.W.Bro. C. Edwin Drew 

1986 R.W.Bro. Robert S. Throop 

1987 R.W.Bro. Albert A. Barker 

1988 R.W.Bro. Edsel C. Steen 

1989 R.W.Bro. Edmund V. Ralph 

1990 - - -V.W.Bro. Donald B. Kaufman 

1991 R.W.Bro. Wilfred T.Greenhough* 

1992 R.W.Bro. Frank G. Dunn 

1993 W.Bro. Stephen H. Maizels 

1994 W.Bro. David G. Fletcher 

1995 - - - R.W.Bro. Kenneth L. Whiting 

1996 R.W.Bro. Larry J. Hostine 

1997 V.W.Bro. George A. Napper 

1998 W.Bro. Gordon L. Finbow